Researching and speaking belong together

Language skills are essential for acquiring all knowledge, including natural sciences. So far, only a few scientists have attempted to systematically explore the interrelationships between both areas.  Two three-year studies on the impact of early science education started at the end of 2013. One of them covers language. The sub-study EASI Science-L (Early Steps into Science and Literacy), which is jointly supported by Siemens Stiftung and the foundation "Haus der kleinen Forscher" ("Little Scientists’ House”) focuses on the interaction between science education and language development.

The research aims to explored if and how language skills can be developed, for example, through describing scientific phenomena and formulating solutions, especially with children whose second language is German. Scientists from different areas of specialization at universities in Koblenz-Landau, Augsburg, and Heidelberg are analyzing the design of teaching-learning situations in science education, the quality of linguistic stimulation in preschools and children’s skills in both areas; 222 children and 58 educational professionals from facilities all over Germany participated in the study.

The parallel study EASI Science (Early Steps into Science) explored how science education impacts science-related skills in preschools. The researchers are focused on the skills of both children and educator professional. The "Haus der kleinen Forscher" Foundation and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research supported the study.

The findings of the two studies are available since August 2017. They confirm that continuing professional development (CPD) in science not only improves the content knowledge and the pedagogical content knowledge of early childhood professionals, but also increases their motivation and interest. Children also benefit from this, as their enjoyment of learning and their interest in science improved measurably. The parallel study EASI Science-L also found that science education has a positive effect on children's language abilities.