Children's Political Knowledge: Comparative Relevance of Family and School Resources
The dissertation project studied the political knowledge of first grade elementary school children. It provides analyses of the level and development of children’s political knowledge. Economic, cultural and social resources of their families and of the attended schools are used as main determinants of political knowledge. The dissertation project employed several datasets which were collected as part of the project "Learning to Live Democracy" at the MZES. 750 elementary school students were interviewed with a standardised questionnaire about their political knowledge at the beginning and the end of their first year in elementary school (panel survey). Furthermore, their parents (mother and father) and their teachers were interviewed. Initially, the dissertation project focused on the development of the concept of political knowledge of children. Economic, cultural and social resources of families and schools were differentiated and operationalised. Results: First-graders do already possess political knowledge. Furthermore, they differentiate between knowledge domains. Family and school resources have a positive impact on children’s level and development of political knowledge. This impact differs according to the type of resources, the knowledge domains and the point of time. Cultural resources of the family are of special relevance at the beginning of school attendance. To some extent school resources have a compensative impact. Depending on the knowledge domain, family and school resources do have a different impact on the development of political knowledge.