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Early Childhood Education and Care in Luxembourg - Is attendance influenced by immigration background and socioeconomic status?

  • Kaufmann, Lena Maria
  • Fischbach, Antoine
  • Ottenbacher, Martha
  • Hornung, Caroline
Publication Date
Nov 10, 2022
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For decades, researchers have been raising awareness of the issue of educational inequalities in the multilingual Luxemburgish school system. Especially children from families with a migration background or a lower socio-economic status show large deficits in their language and mathematics competences in comparison to their peers. The same applies to children who do not speak Luxemburgish or German as their first language (Hornung et al., 2021; Sonnleitner et al., 2021). One way to reduce such educational inequalities might be an early and extensive participation in early childhood education and care (ECEC). Indeed, participation in ECEC was found to be positively connected to language and cognitive development in other countries, especially for children from disadvantaged families (Bennett, 2012). However, these children attend ECEC less often (Vandenbroeck & Lazzari, 2014). There are indications that lower parental costs might go hand in hand with a greater attendance of ECEC in general (for a Luxembourgish study, see Bousselin, 2019) and in particular by disadvantaged families (Busse & Gathmann, 2020). The aim of this study is to spotlight the attendance of ECEC in Luxembourg during the implementation of the ECEC reform after 2017 which increased free ECEC hours for all families from 3 to 20 hours a week. We draw on a large dataset of about 35.000 children from the Épreuves Standardisées (ÉpStan, the Luxemburg school monitoring programme) from 2015 to 2021 and investigate which children attend any kind of regulated ECEC service (public, private or family daycare) in which intensity, taking socio-economic and cultural family factors into account. The findings might help to understand in which contexts ECEC attendance should be further encouraged. Implications for future policy decisions are discussed with the goal of further promoting equal educational opportunities for all children.

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