Learning language through play
In this project, children aged 2 to 6 with a first language other than German learn the German language through play and with a great deal of enthusiasm.
In the playgroups for German promotion, language acquisition is promoted in a playful manner in small groups during the children’s free time. The children’s enthusiasm for the subjects and games is a major factor in language learning. In addition to the direct promotion of children, parental work constitutes another main focus. Free presentations on language acquisition as well as information sheets on the contents from the groups and exercises to do at home are used.
Why is this project needed?
Children with a first language other than German are less qualified when they leave school compared to children with German as a first language. (Source: Bundesländer: Statistiken zu Migration und Integration 2016, Österreichischer Integrationsfonds, p. 43) The barrier to advancement in the education system is often due to a lack of linguistic competence. This disparity can be addressed by promoting language learning in early childhood. Until the age of 7, children acquire language unconsciously and almost automatically. Making use of this time period was the starting point for the conception of our language promotion project, which combines fun with German language acquisition. Parents also have an important role to play here.
Developing the project
We have been offering the project on a small scale since September 2017, with one to three playgroups. The federal state of Lower Austria has been funding the project “Playgroups for German promotion” for and in cooperation with the city of Wiener Neustadt since July 2018, and for the Industrieviertel since April. Specifically, the federal state bears part of the costs (50%) per child for 20 weeks (75-90 minutes per week). Up to now, over 900 children have been registered for the playgroups. More than 300 parents have been reached with counselling and presentations.
Playgroups are currently offered in the following municipalities:
Baden, Bad Vöslau, Berndorf, Eggendorf, Felixdorf, Markt Piesting, Neunkirchen, Schwechat, Sollenau, Traiskirchen, Pernitz, Wiener Neustadt, Waldegg, Wien, Wöllersdorf
Since 2021: St. Pölten, Ternitz, Theresienfeld
How are the playgroups designed?
Each playgroup consists of 7 to 9 children and takes place once a week for 90 minutes. The group is led by an experienced language promoter. The children are divided into age groups: 2-3 years (accompanied by a parent), 3.5-5 years, 5-6 years (children in their last year of kindergarten & pre-school group), 6 years (primary school group). Depending on the age, the focal points are developed in different ways. The aim is to awaken the children’s enthusiasm for the exercises and the subject. Games, handicraft activities and experiments are implemented. Stories, songs and rhymes are also important elements. Language promotion methods integrated into everyday life as well as recurrent speaking exercises are pivotal.
The association uses a methodological manual that is continuously reworked. We implement on-the-job training and are always interested in further development and quality assurance.
In order to evaluate the impact of our measures, STARTKLAR cooperates with the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt, Department of Speech Therapy. Students conduct research and summarise the results in theses. In addition, in-house development reports on individual children are used to measure the effectiveness of direct language promotion.