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Child Development Research
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 916303, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/916303
Research Article

The Influence of Education and Home Environment on the Cognitive Outcomes of Preschool Children in Germany

Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES), University of Mannheim, 68131 Mannheim, Germany

Received 18 August 2010; Revised 18 November 2010; Accepted 12 January 2011

Academic Editor: Masha Gartstein

Copyright © 2011 Nicole Biedinger. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Educational inequality is a well-established topic among the scientific community in Western countries. Major individual differences emerge well before children arrive at school. Therefore the following analysis deals with the explanation of early differences in cognitive outcomes. However, there is not much research done in Germany. The main question is if the strong effect of the educational background and the home environment on their outcomes and on the improvement exists as well. To test this, data of the project “Preschool Education and Educational Careers among Migrant Children” was used. The results of structural equation models confirm that the home environment and the education of the parents are important for children's outcomes at the age of 3 to 4. In addition both factors also play a major role for the explanation of the improvement of the cognitive abilities. The results show that in Germany the home environment and parental education are important predictors of cognitive abilities. As a main result the study shows that it is very important to control for earlier abilities of the children and to encourage low educated parents to be active with their children, since in that way they can compensate for their lower educational background.