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Current focus: Language
Language is “the key to the world” and a central prerequisite for educational and integration opportunity. In the current legislative period, the Department of Education is focusing on early language acquisition, basing its work on the legislative priorities of the cantonal council 2015-2019 and the strategy for language support from early childhood to young adulthood (2015, in German). The fundamental concern is that all children should be supported in their language acquisition from the start: in the family, daycare centers, family daycare, or playgroups. The goal is to specifically give children from socially disadvantaged or foreign-language backgrounds a more equal start. This is because good language skills are decisive for educational success.
Strategy for Early Childhood Education and Care
The Department of Education has focused on early childhood education as a strategic objective since 2009 and is committed to giving children a more equal start. In 2009 the department published a background report (in German) and presented guiding principles for early childhood education and care (in German) for discussion at a conference (in German). Based on that, it developed the strategy for early childhood education and care (in German) in 2012, with the overarching objective to give every child good opportunities. To implement the strategy, projects were launched and supported for targeted strengthening of the existing provision of early childhood education in the Canton of Zurich. These include, for example, the following projects: Learning Opportunities for Children up to Age 4, Zeppelin (in German), transition to kindergarten (in German), and Educational Landscapes (in German). The current focus is on early language acquisition.