Early Childhood

Concept for Promoting Early Language Development

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Language is the key to the world and the central prerequisite for educational and integration opportunities. That is why one of the aims of the Department of Education of the Canton of Zurich is to promote early language development in young children up to age 4 in all important areas of their lives—in families, day families, daycare centres, and playgroups.

The Department bases its work in this area on the paper «Concept for Promoting Early Language Development for Children up to Age 4» (German) , prepared by the University of Teacher Education Thurgau PHTG Switzerland and the Marie Meierhofer Children's Institute. The concept paper describes the basic understanding of early language development and presents scientific bases, central guidelines, and specific features of successful early language development. The concept paper is coordinated with the «Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care in Switzerland» (German).

Promotion of language development integrated in everyday life

Promoting children’s language development works best when it is done as a part of everyday life and in connection with the child’s immediate natural environment. The six guidelines on promoting early language development in the concept paper show clearly what that means when concretely applied. The focus is on how adults can attentively support their young children in day-to-day life and promote their language development—whether the children are growing up with one or more languages and whether their daytime life takes place at home or in a childcare facility outside the family. The guidelines are not simple instructions but instead provide professionals with foundations for reflection and further development of everyday promotion of language development.

Reference work for professionals

The concept paper «Concept for Promoting Early Language Development» (German) is mainly for persons who deal with early language development promotion at a conceptual, planning level. This includes people in educational administration and social services, associations, early childhood education facilities, research, and policy. It is not directly addressed to immediate caregivers like parents or play group leaders. Based on the concept paper, practical materials such as short films and recommendations are being developed for direct caregivers.

Printed copies of «Concept for Promoting Early Language Development» (German) can be ordered by e-mail: bildungsplanung@bi.zh.ch


Natali Pesic