Noticia | Educación 17.02.2014

Study of the interaction between science education and language development

How does an electrical circuit work? Experiments encourage children to speak.
© Siemens Stiftung, Fotograf: Sebastian Isacu

How are early science education and language development related? This question is the focus of an interdisciplinary three-year research project on early science education in Germany – the first of its kind. The study, EASI Science-L (Early Steps into Science and Literacy), examines the effect of science instruction on children’s language development. The research project is supported by the foundation “Haus der kleinen Forscher” (“Little Scientists’ House”), Siemens Stiftung and Baden-Württemberg Stiftung.

Scientists from the fields of psychology, didactics, pedagogy, and education research are studying how experiments and their linguistic accompaniment impact the language skills of children, especially those with German as a second language. Numerous educational experts and educators assume that active research stimulates speech, for instance, when children talk about their observations and formulate solutions. The study aims to explain to what extent this relationship can be scientifically proven and at which phases of an experiment supportive speech measures are especially effective.

In 60 preschools in Baden-Württemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz, scientists are analyzing science teaching and learning situations and examining the linguistic stimulation quality of the instruction courses as well as their impact on children’s language skills. “Early education is of growing social significance. Studies on the impact of early science education  at the child level are largely lacking in Germany,” says Michael Fritz, CEO of the foundation “Haus der kleinen Forscher”. “With the research project, we aim to address this deficit and contribute to action research in the field of early education.”