Preschool Education and Educational Careers among Migrant Children

Research question/goal: 

The aim of the project "Preschool Education and Educational Careers among Migrant Children" (ESKOM) was to analyse the competence development and educational careers of Turkish-origin children and children without migrant background from early childhood (at the age of three) to the transition to secondary school (late fourth grade).
About 1,200 families (half of them with a Turkish migrant background) were interviewed in six survey waves. In addition, we carried out standardized tests in various competence domains with their children. Finally, preschools and elementary schools were interviewed via postal survey.

Competence discrepancies between children with and without (Turkish) migrant background already exist at the age of three years. In the domains of cognitive and mathematical skills, discrepancies are small; in the domain of German language skills, we find major disadvantages for Turkish-origin children. The developmental progress in cognitive and mathematical skills is similar in both groups. Whereas the initial disadvantage in the domain of German language skills decreases over time, it increases in cultural knowledge. Early childhood German language skills are associated with later school performance and the probability of enrolling to ‘Gymnasium’.

Families and preschools are two major developmental contexts for preschool-aged children. Stimulating parent-child activities (such as reading aloud) are positively associated with skill development in all domains. They are less common in Turkish-origin families. The efficiency of such activities for the development of society-specific skills (German language, cultural knowledge) depends on the cultural content of the family learning environment.

On average, children of Turkish origin start attending preschools later than autochthonous children, and they are more likely to attend institutions with a higher share of children with a migrant background. A longer preschool attendance duration is positively associated with German language skills of Turkish-origin children from non-German speaking families. Quality characteristics and the ethnic composition of preschools moderate this association. Moreover, quality characteristics of the elementary school are positively associated with the reading achievement of Turkish-origin children in third grade.

Fact sheet

2006 to 2018
Data Sources: 
Primary data collection
Geographic Space: 



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