Leibniz Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education


The early development of competencies is fundamental for the further course of education. Therefore, understanding how early educational processes can succeed and be promoted is crucial. In the context of current developments and challenges in the field of early education (e.g., infants and toddlers increasingly attending childcare, increasing digitalization of education), the Leibniz Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education connects renowned scientists across Germany to explore topics such as the quality of educational opportunities, the educational participation of children with differing social backgrounds, and the interaction between family and institutional learning environments.


The Leibniz Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education was founded within the framework of the Leibniz Research Network (LERN) with the aim of (1) investigating the development of domain-specific competencies and their promotion in the first eight years of a child's life as well as (2) conducting intervention studies. To this end, the Center brings together the expertise of various disciplines: experts from research facilities in Germany from the fields of psychology, educational science, educational economics and the didactics of mathematics and chemistry collaborate.
The coordination office of the Center was located at the IPN in Kiel until spring 2021. Since March 2021, the center's coordination office has been located at the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories in Bamberg.


Intervention studies: five ongoing DFG projects investigate the promotion of mathematical and scientific competencies

Secondary data analyses: existing longitudinal data sets are utilized to examine early skill development as well as institutional and family influences  

Initial findings

In a first phase of collaboration, the part of the Center based at LIfBi (EarlyEd) focused particularly on the early roots of competence development and the interplay with home and institutional learning environments.
In particular, interest was focused on the development and relationship of general cognitive skills (information processing skills, executive functions) and domain-specific skills (linguistic, mathematical). These were analyzed with data from existing longitudinal studies (NEPS, BiKS). One focus was on the impact of early skills and influencing factors at the age of 7 and 16 months on later competence development in childcare. A second focus was on the relationship between linguistic, cognitive, and mathematical/scientific skills during the transition from childcare to elementary school.

Project profile

Project management and application: Prof. Dr. Cordula Artelt, Dr. Ilka Wolter
Responsible at LIfBi: Dr. Manja Attig
Coordination office at LIfBi: Dr. Jessica Willard
Funding period: since March 2021
Funding: Leibniz Research Network (LERN)
Project website: http://www.lkfb.de/en/
Network partners of the Leibniz Association:

  • Prof. Dr. Marcus Hasselhorn (DIPF)
  • Prof. Dr. Olaf Köller (IPN)
  • Prof. Dr. C. Katharina Spieß (DIW)

Contact: lkf(at)lifbi.de




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Dr.  Manja Attig


+49 951 863-3464