The Importance of Professional Knowledge for Learning Support in German ECEC Settings



Results and aims:

The study “BIKE” (Bedingungsfaktoren für gelingende Interaktionen zwischen Erzieherinnen und Kindern – Conditional factors of successful teacher-child interactions) analyzes possible relations between the quality of interactional processes in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings and conditions, attitudes and knowledge of the educators. The aim is to make evidence-based recommendations to improve professional development and structural conditions in day care centers based on empirical data.

Through an assessment of classroom quality with the CLASS Pre-K (Pianta R, La Paro K, Hamre B: Classroom assessment scoring system. Manual (pre-K). Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co., Baltimore, 2008), we found good quality in the Emotional Support and Classroom Organization, but only low quality for Instructional Support (Concept Development, Quality of Feedback, Language Modeling). These findings are consistent with results from international studies (e.g. Hamre B, Pianta R, Downer J, DeCoster J, Mashburn A, Jones S, Brown J, Cappella E, Atkins M, Rivers S, Brackett M, Hamagami A: Elem Sch J 113(4):461–487, 2013). With regard to the importance of effective support of cognitive and language development for children, a substantial improvement of professional practice is needed. The article highlights possible ways to optimize this interaction quality in training and professional pedagogic practice. In addition we found significant correlations between planning competencies and quality of interactions.


In a sample of 85 ECEC classrooms for children between the ages of three to six in Germany, interactions were observed live and rated using the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS Pre-K) (Pianta, La Paro & Hamre, 2008). The centers were randomly recruited in four Bavarian citys. The study used a set of case vignettes (Mischo, Hendler, Wahl & Strohmer, 2011) to describe and explain how to support language learning in the described situations. All educators were given individual feedback on the interactional quality we observed, in order to help them improve their proximal processes.


Professional development of educators needs to focus on supporting strategies for cognitive and language development. The article will describe how to transfer these strategies into practical training for educators.

Additionally it will be discussed how educators’ knowledge is connected to implementation in daily interactions.


  1. Anders, Y., Rossbach, H.-G., Weinert, S., Ebert, S., Kuger, S., Lehrl, S., & von Maurice, J. (2012). Home and preschool learning environments and their relations to the development of early numeracy skills. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(2), 231–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Briedigkeit, E. (2011). Institutionelle Überformung sprachlicher Handlungsmuster – Realisation von Fragetypen im Erzieherin-Kind(er) Diskurs. Empirische Pädagogik, 25(4), 499–517.Google Scholar
  3. Burchinal, M., Vandergrift, N., Pianta, R., & Mashburn, A. (2010). Threshold analysis of association between child care quality and child outcomes for low-income children in pre-kindergarten programs. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(2), 166–176.Google Scholar
  4. Burchinal, M., Kainz, K., & Cai, Y. (2011). How well do our measures of quality predict child outcomes? A meta-analysis and coordinated analysis of data from large-scale studies of early childhood settings. In M. Zaslow, I. Martinez-Beck, K. Tout, & T. Halle (Eds.), Quality measurement in early childhood settings (pp. 11–31). Baltimore: Brookes.Google Scholar
  5. Cadima, J., Leal, T., & Burchinal, M. (2010). The quality of teacher-student interactions: Associations with first graders’ academic and behavioral outcomes. Journal of School Psychology, 48(6), 457–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Carew, J. V., & Clarke-Stewart, K. A. (1980). Experience and the development of intelligence in young children at home and in day care. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 45(6/7), 1–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  8. Hamre, B., Pianta, R., Downer, J., DeCoster, J., Mashburn, A., Jones, S., Brown, J., Cappella, E., Atkins, M., Rivers, S., Brackett, M., & Hamagami, A. (2013). Teaching through interactions. Testing a developmental framework of teacher effectiveness in over 4,000 classrooms. The Elementary School Journal, 113(4), 461–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Howes, C., & Rubenstein, J. L. (1985). Determinants of toddlers’ experience in day care: Age of entry and quality of setting. Child & Youth Care Forum, 14(2), 140–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jamil, F. M., Sabol, T. J., Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2015). Assessing teachers’ skills in detecting and identifying effective interactions in the classroom. The Elementary School Journal, 115(3), 407–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Kammermeyer, G., Roux, S., & Stuck, A. (2013). „Was wirkt wie?“ – Evaluation von Sprachfördermaßnahmen in Rheinland-Pfalz. Abschlussbericht (March 2013). Landau: Universität Koblenz-Landau.Google Scholar
  12. König, A. (2009). Interaktionsprozesse zwischen ErzieherInnen und Kindern. Eine Videostudie aus dem Kindergartenalltag. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Leyva, D., Weiland, C., Barata, M., Yoshikawa, H., Snow, C., Trevino, E., & Rolla, A. (2015). Teacher–child interactions in Chile and their associations with Prekindergarten outcomes. Child Development, 86(3), 781–799.Google Scholar
  14. Mackowiak, K., Wadepohl, H., & Bosshart, S. (2014). Analyse der Kompetenzen von pädagogischen Fachkräften im Freispiel und in Bildungsangeboten. In D. Kucharz, K. Mackowiak, S. Ziroli, A. Kauertz, E. Rathgeb-Schnierer, & M. Dieck (Eds.), Professionelles Handeln im Elementarbereich (PRIMEL). Eine deutsch-schweizerische Videostudie (pp. 179–204). Waxmann: Münster/New York.Google Scholar
  15. Mashburn, A., Pianta, R., Hamre, B., Downer, J., Barbarin, O., Bryant, D., Burchinal, M., Early, D., & Howes, C. (2008). Measures of classroom quality in prekindergarten and children’s development of academic, language, and social skills. Child Development, 79(3), 732–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McCartney, K. (1984). Effect of quality of day care environment on children’s language development. Developmental Psychology, 20(2), 244–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Melhuish, E. C., Lloyd, E., Martin, S., & Mooney, A. (1990). Type of childcare at 18 months: II relations with cognitive and language development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 31(6), 861–870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mischo, M., Hendler, J., Wahl, S. & Strohmer, J. (2011). Vignetten zur Sprachförderung. Projekt AVE –Ausbildung und Verlauf von Erzieherinnen-Merkmalen. PH-Freiburg. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  19. Oberhuemer, P., Schreyer, I., & Neuman, J. M. (2010). Professionals in early childhood education and care systems: European profiles and perspectives. Opladen & Farmington Hills: Barbara Budrich.Google Scholar
  20. Pakarinen, E., Lerkkanen, M.-K., Poikkeus, A.-M., Kiuru, N., Siekkinen, M., Rasku-Puttonen, H., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2010). A validation of the classroom assessment scoring system in Finnish kindergartens. Early Education and Development, 21(1), 95–124.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pianta, R., La Paro, K., & Hamre, B. (2008). Classroom assessment scoring system. Manual (pre-K). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co..Google Scholar
  22. Plese, D. (2015). Sprachliche Kompetenzen in Kindertageseinrichtungen – die Rolle der pädagogischen Fachkraft [Language competencies in ECEC Centers – the part of the teacher]. Unpublished master thesis. München: LMU München.Google Scholar
  23. Ruopp, R., Travers, J., Glantz, R., & Coelen, C. (1979). Final report of the national day care study (Vol. 1): Children at the center: Summary of findings and their implications. Washington, DC: United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare.Google Scholar
  24. Sammons, P., Anders, Y., Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Siraj-Blatchford, I., Taggart, B., & Barreau, S. (2008). Children’s cognitive attainment and progress in English primary schools during key stage 2: Investigating the potential continuing influences of pre-school education. Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaften, 10(11), 179–198.Google Scholar
  25. Schnurr, S. (2003). Vignetten in quantitativen und qualitativen Forschungsdesigns. In H. U. Otto, G. Oelerich, & H.-G. Micheel (Eds.), Empirische Forschung. Sozialarbeit – Sozialpädagogik – Soziale Probleme (pp. 393–400). Luchterhand: München.Google Scholar
  26. Siraj-Blatchford, I., & Manni, L. (2008). Would you like to tidy up now? An analysis of adult questioning in the English foundation stage. Early Years, 28(1), 5–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Siraj-Blatchford, I., Sylva, K., Muttock, S., Gilden, R., & Bell, D. (2002). Researching effective pedagogy in the early years. Research Report No. 356. Norwich: Queen’s Printer.Google Scholar
  28. Slot, P. L. (2014). Early childhood education and care in the Netherlands. Quality, curriculum, and relations with child development. Ridderkerk: Ridderprint B.V.Google Scholar
  29. Stuck, A., Kammermeyer, G., Roux, S. (in press). The reliability and structure of the Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) in German Preschools. Early Education and Development. Google Scholar
  30. Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I., & Taggart, B. (Hrsg.) (2010). Early childhood matters: Evidence from the effective pre-school and primary education project. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Taylor, B. M. P., Pearson, D., Peterson, D. S., & Rodriguez, M. C. (2003). Reading growth in high-poverty classrooms: The influence of teacher practices that encourage cognitive engagement in literacy learning. The Elementary School Journal, 104(1), 3–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tietze, W., Becker-Stoll, F., Bensel, J., Eckhardt, A., Haug-Schnabel, G., Kalicki, B., Keller, H., & Leyendecker, B. (2013). Nationale Untersuchung zur Bildung, Betreuung und Erziehung in der frühen Kindheit (NUBBEK). Weimar: Verlag das netz.Google Scholar
  33. Tournier, M., Wadepohl, H., & Kucharz, D. (2014). Analyse des pädagogischen Handelns in der Freispielbegleitung. In D. Kucharz, K. Mackowiak, S. Ziroli, A. Kauertz, E. Rathgeb-Schnierer, & M. Dieck (Eds.), Professionelles Handeln im Elementarbereich (PRIMEL). Eine deutsch-schweizerische Videostudie (pp. 99–121). Waxmann: Münster/New York.Google Scholar
  34. von Suchodoletz, A., Fäsche, A., Gunzenhauser, C., & Hamre, B. K. (2014). A typical morning in preschool: Observations of teacher–child interactions in German preschools. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29, 509–519.Google Scholar
  35. von Suchodoletz, A., Gunzenhauser, C., & Larssen, R. A. A. (2015). Die Beobachtung von Interaktionen im Kindergartenalltag. Das Individualized Assessment Scoring System (InCLASS). Frühe Bildung, 4(4), 211–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wharton-McDonald, R., Pressley, M., & Hampston, J. M. (1998). Literacy instruction in nine first-grade classrooms: Teacher characteristics and student achievement. The Elementary School Journal, 99(2), 101–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Whitehurst, G. J., Arnold, D. S., Epstein, J. N., Angell, A. L., Smith, M., & Fischel, J. (1994). A picture book reading intervention in day care and home for children from low-income families. Developmental Psychology, 24(5), 552–558.Google Scholar
  38. Wildgruber, A., Wertfein, M., Wirts, C., Kammermeier, M. & Danay, E. (in press). Situative Unterschiede der Interaktionsqualität im Verlauf des Kindergartenalltags [Variation in the teacher-child interactions across time and activity settings in German ECEC classrooms]. Frühe Bildung. Google Scholar
  39. Wildgruber, A., Wirts, C., & Wertfein, M. (2014). Interaktionsqualität in Kindertageseinrichtungen – Forschung mit dem classroom assessment scoring system (CLASS pre-K) [conditional factors of successful teacher-child-interactions – Research with the classroom assessment scoring system (CLASS pre-K)]. In A. Prengel & M. Winklhofer (Eds.), Kinderrechte in pädagogischen Beziehungen – Studien und Forschungsmethoden (pp. 149–172). Opladen/Berlin/Toronto: Barbara Budrich.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The State Institute of Early Childhood ResearchMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations