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Early learning

Well before Pisa it has been clear that early learning and early education has been criminally neglected in Switzerland. Starting school so late means that some children already start their learning career with deficits, which can hardly be managed later, or else only with an extensive use of funds.

On behalf of the Swiss Unesco Commission, Prof. Dr. Margrit Stamm from the University of Fribourg conducted a comprehensive basic study on the topic of “Infant Education in Switzerland”, which demonstrated the status quo in the matter of the education and care of children aged between 0-6 in Switzerland and defines fields of action and tasks that need to be carried out in the future. She reached the conclusion that Switzerland, when compared with other countries, is at best mid-range, and names the following areas as examples of weaknesses with a great need for development, namely international connectivity and the guarantee of educational quality.

The large resistance among wide circles to the idea of anchoring education in early childhood also poses an obstacle. In the first instance this goes back to the misunderstanding that early infant educational concepts simply bring school forward, instead of actually being a “conscious stimulation of infant learning activities by adults”. There are countless studies that prove the economic benefits of day care – for the investing communities (in the form of higher taxes and lower social payments), for women (in the form of economically measurable preservation of knowledge), for children (in the form of better school success and better professional opportunities later), and for family (in the form of higher income).

FruehfoerderungThe most important thing is that, in the first instance, it concerns the right of all children to a comprehensive encouragement and education, in accordance with their capabilities and needs. Those who save on day care save on the education of the next generation and withhold from them a fundamental right. In childcare the basis is laid for mastering life. Learning skills, social behaviour, problem-solving abilities and much more is practiced and strengthened, not only in infancy, but also in the early school years – or not, as the case may be. (vpod – bildungspolitik)