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Early Support From Birth Onwards: ZEPPELIN 0-3

Background and aims

Given the still very strong connection in Switzerland between familial origin and educational career, the fundamental problem of unequal educational opportunities shall be approached from the very beginning, that is to say from birth onwards, while regarding the family as an educational facility. ZEPPELIN, a longitudinal intervention study, shall be employed to investigate the question of whether selective prevention measures from birth onwards increase the educational opportunities of children from families in psychosocial risk constellations.


ZEPPELIN is an intervention project by the University of Applied Sciences of Special Needs Education Zurich in collaboration with Zurich's Department of Education, Office for Youth and Careers Advice. The primary aim of this study is the interdisciplinary early detection of children whose development is at risk because of psychosocial reasons and are in this respect threatened with disability. The second aim is the early support of these children with a view to a long-term sustainable increase in their educational opportunities.


Based on the PPCT-Design after Bronfenbrenner and Morris (2006) – where development is conceived as an interaction between person and environment in the context of socio-spatial and temporal conditions – ZEPPELIN 0-3 is interested in answering the central question of what effects early support measures have on the development of children aged between 0 and 3 from families in psychosocial risk constellations, and what the effective mechanisms in the family as an educational facility are.

Building on experience gained in the ZEPPELIN/M feasibility study (see A.14), Homepage A.14the main study ZEPPELIN 0-3 implements an interdisciplinary network consisting of individuals from medical and psychosocial fields for the early detection of families in psychosocial risk constellations. In order to offer early support to these families we have chosen the PAT- Parents as Teachers programme, which fulfils the most important FBBE programme criteria: a) early start, b) continuity, c) possibilities for individualisation, d) personnel professionalism, e) consideration of language support and f) house visits as an easy means of approach.


ZEPPELIN is set up as a longitudinal study to answer the above question and to check whether the objectives have been achieved. In a randomised control trial (RCT), the effects on the development of the children and the mechanisms in the family as an educational facility will be evaluated by comparing intervention group (N=132) and control group (N=120). The following instruments are planned for use in ZEPPELIN 0-3: Assessment of negative factors and protection factors in the 4th month of life, a video analysis to determine the quality of child-parent interaction (CARE Index) with repeated measurements taking place around the time of the child's birthday for the first 3 years of its life, development tests and scales for the assessment of parental caring competences and the attitude towards education and level of encouragement in the domestic setting. There are plans to longitudinally extend the study to include measurements taken at the lower-secondary education level (ZEPPELIN 6-7; 12-13).


Forschung und Entwicklung
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