Daycare establishments today are faced with a multitude of linguistic and cultural backgrounds amongst children. This leads to the question of how pedagogical staff can best deal with this diversity. The current recommendation is to actively integrate children's first languages and heritage cultures into every-day practice in order to facilitate children's development of bilingual competences and socio-emotional skills. The value of such programs is a matter of heated debate amongst scholars. As a result of this conflict, the integration of first languages in childcare establishments ranges from active integration to complete exclusion.
Moreover, there are currently no studies available on the effects of integrating multilingualism into childcare establishments. The few existing studies either examine the effect of specific, targeted measures, or investigate the process of second language attainment without considering children's first languages. This project therefore focuses on the effects of integrating multilingualism into childcare establishments. Effects on children's first and second language development and parent satisfaction within the establishment will be assessed.
Using a 3-year longitudinal intervention study with an experimental control group design, the project aims at implementing current recommendations for the integration of multilingualism in childcare establishments using individual training measures, and at documenting changes concerning the establishment, the parents, and the children.
Design and methods
The study's participants include a total of 20 childcare establishments which will be randomly assigned to either experimental or control group. During the intervention, the experimental group will receive training on the integration of multilingualism in childcare establishments. The experiment will be evaluated yearly on three occasions, including a pre-test (MZP 1), an interim assessment during the intensive phase of the intervention (MZP 2), and a post-test after the intervention's completion.
The sample includes 300 multilingual children aged between 3 and 5 years. The children will be assessed in their first language development (limited to Russian and Turkish-speaking children due to their higher representation and the availability of instruments), in their second language development (German), and in their socio-emotional development. Moderate positive effects are expected for language development and for socio-emotional development.
The assessment of the establishment's pedagogical quality in the area of intercultural learning will be carried out by using standardized observation procedures and the assessment of parent cooperation by observations of admission consultations with parents. Here, stronger positive effects are expected. The parents' satisfaction with the establishment's development and their own sense of integration will be traced using standardized questionnaires. Higher levels of satisfaction and a better sense of integration are expected within the experimental group.