From the Cradle to the Classroom
Stadt Nürnberg, Lernen vor Ort Nürnberg
Preparing the next generation for future success is a major goal of Nuremberg's vision for the city
More than half of children under six living in Nuremberg, Germany are immigrants. Yet a report conducted on behalf of the city’s Integration council and its partners found that immigrant children are under-represented from formal pre-school programs – such as daycare and nursery centres – that are designed for children three- years-old and under.
Preparing the next generation for future success is a major goal of Nuremberg’s vision for the city. The City of Nuremberg is working to make early education more accessible to all of its residents. Kindergarten, the parents and the social environment are viewed as essential to success in formal education, and also as important socialization agents for these children. This has become a central topic of the national debate about education. In Nuremberg, education has also been declared a top priority. The city’s goal is an inclusive approach to education in the city that ensures success in school for all its children.
Initially the campaign focused on youth. Activities included kindergartens, school-based activities, immigrant recognition awards and cultural newsletters. As part of this process, Nuremberg is undergoing close monitoring of formal education programs to determine how to strengthen the participation in, and the quality of education, particularly for the youngest residents. All institutions – not just those run by the city – are involved in a city-wide consultation on the subject. The city also broadened its strategic scope to include building relationships between parents and institutions that work with children.
Levelling the Playing Field
A number of measures are already being implemented to help level the playing field, and provide equal access to early education for all children, regardless of cultural background. A systematically-designed series of seminars and parent training events has been welcomed by parents from both German-born and immigrant families. The training includes information about programs to help children improve their learning skills as well as practical advice for parents to help them support the child’s progress within the family. Some courses specifically address issues affecting immigrants, and many are offered in different languages. The city has also created a variety of information media for parents, some of which are published in 16 different languages.
A good start in school is a key strategy of the “Bayerische Bildungs- und Erziehungsplan” (BEP), the 2005 education plan for the state of Bavaria. Research has shown that language acquisition and proficiency is a critical determinant of success at school. Recognizing the value of early intervention, including children entering pre-school, language programs were established to help level the playing field for all children seeking entry into the public education system.To identify those in need early, preschool children undergo language testing 18 months prior to primary school. Children who may need more language support to be successful in the classroom can access up to 240 German lessons to help prepare them for school. Primary schools also offer remedial language classes for the youngest students and individual tuition in the German language is available to those who need it from grade 3, when the curriculum starts preparing children for future testing.
Teachers require support too. Since December 2008, daycare institutions in Nuremberg have had access to a language consultant program instituted by the Bavarian State Ministry for Labour, Social Affairs, Family and Women. Language consultants support and advise school teams on how to improve their language teaching for the city’s youngest children.
Under the watchful eye and feedback loops of the city’s monitoring systems, increasingly precise data helps city officials and teaching staff tailor city’s educational programs to the needs of Nuremberg students –not only those of the youngest children and the children of immigrants, but all children attending educational institutions in Nuremberg.
Making it Work for You:
- Research the underlying factors that prevent full participation of certain immigration groups in public programs and institutions and seek early interventions to remedy exclusion
- Form partnerships between politicians, teachers, and parents in establishing education goals and guidelines to ensure a wide support system is available to children and families as they navigate their way through the education system.
- Use public information sessions and provide materials to help parents support their children’s success at school. Provide information in a number of languages.
For this Good Idea contact:
Elisabeth Ries , Bureau of Education: Lernen vor Ort