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Long-Term Effects of Family-Supplementing Support

Background and aims

Support at pre-kindergarten age on school performance 

Within the framework of the national research programme 39 in the field of migration, a research group (Lanfranchi, Gruber & Gay, 2003) investigated the supportive measures given to four- and six- year old children in three Swiss towns. A preliminary survey consisting of a spot check of 876 Swiss, Albanian, Turkish, Portuguese and Italian children took place in Winterthur, Neuchâtel and Locarno in 1998. One year later – the younger children were now in kindergarten and the older ones in the primary school first form -, the teachers were questioned about the performance status of the children in question. The results were compared to the former support forms (at home with their mothers, crèches, play groups, child minders, relatives or neighbours). The main result established that family-supplementary supported children were significantly better assessed by their kindergarten and teachers of the first primary school class in terms of their linguistic, cognitive and special skills than children who grew up exclusively in the circle of their own family. In particular, thanks to the transit area of a family-supplementary environment, children from migration families managed the first days at school significantly better than children who were obliged to manage in an alien environment without the benefit of the transit period. Whether the quantitative and qualitative results may be regarded as scientifically valid conclusions of sustainable effects as regards the success of the children examined in their further school careers cannot yet be answered with any certainty: the period of time of the longitudinal study (1998 to 1999) was too short to be able to make a longer-term statement about the variable scholastic success. The current research project is intended to provide data about children from the sample acquired at the time for the third time in order to review possible long-term effects.


Does family-supplementary support in pre-school age (in crèches, child minders etc.) have any lasting effects on scholastic success, i.e. can the positive effects established after the first days at school continue to be observed after a period of seven years?


Work was carried out with a wide range of data from 642 children, their families and teachers from 1999/2000. The new acquisition of data regarding the performance status (measured against the last reached school grade or the performance level allocation and the certificate marks) is limited to the population of Winterthur and Locarno (N = 535). Reckoned on the basis of the mobility of the families, the return of migrants and refusals to participate in a new survey with approx. 20% losses, approx. 425 cases remain for a quantitative investigation. The parents are questioned by means of telephone interviews. Additionally, approx. eight families are visited and interviewed again at their homes in a qualitative part study in order to check the extent to which the forecasts about the further scholastic careers of the children made at the time are actually valid.


  • Lanfranchi, A. (2002). Schulerfolg von Migrationskindern. Die Bedeutung familienergänzender Betreuung im Vorschulalter. Opladen: Leske + Budrich.
  • Lanfranchi, A., Gruber, J.  & Gay, D. (2003). Schulerfolg von Migrationskindern dank transitorischer Räume im Vorschulbereich. In H.-R. Wicker, R. Fibbi & W. Haug (Hrsg.), Migration und die Schweiz. Ergebnisse des Nationalen Forschungsprogramms "Migration und interkulturelle Beziehungen" (S. 481-506). Zürich: Seismo.



Project Management

Prof. Dr.  Lanfranchi

Leiter Institut für Professionalisierung und Systementwicklung

Project team

Financial support


Forschung und Entwicklung
Tel: +41 44 317 11 81

zfe[at] zfe