Prof. Dr. Marcus Hasselhorn, DIPF, during his lecture at LIfBi.
Education already starts before entering school. Social contextual conditions (e.g., differences in promotion in families) significantly contribute to the development of academic precursor competencies. Estimates, however, now suggest that almost 20 percent of the children in Germany are only inadequately prepared for school entry, which can be seen in, for example, their delayed development of language or problems with focusing.
Disadvantages caused by the social background of the child can be counteracted through compensatory early education programs that will help children to develop academic precursor competencies even before they start school. The project "The Mature School Child" implemented a training program in over 300 institutions in Baden-Wuerttemberg. As part of this program, at-risk children with below-average preschool competencies were identified and received targeted support. The evaluation results prove the efficacy of the offered training. Precursor competencies in the domains of reading and mathematics skills could be greatly improved, and school readiness of children from identified risk groups could be increased. Overall, those results show that early childhood support measures can increase equal opportunities in schools.