Center for Early Childhood Development and Education Research

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Interdisciplinary Research Projects

The Center for Early Childhood Development and Education Research (CEDER) supports interdisciplinary research projects that examine learning and development in early childhood. For this phase of development, informal learning is a central learning mode. The enormous progress in learning that children already make in their first months and years of life largely takes place through participation in everyday activities and everyday culture in familial and extrafamilial surroundings and in the active attention of their adult caregivers. Professionally organized forms of institutionalized learning fundamentally differ from informal learning in the degree to which learning opportunities are standardized and learning processes are formalized. Whether consciously or not, these formal learning processes nevertheless build on the informal learning processes of the first months and years of life. Moreover, formal learning—in schools or other educational institutions—is flanked, supported, or counteracted by informal learning processes. A very important question for institutionally organized education and care in early childhood is thus how to better understand the connections between formal and informal learning processes, the potential that informal learning opportunities hold for the development and education of children, and how these opportunities can be used in ways that qualitatively improve formal learning processes without thereby losing their original potential for experience.

The investigation of these questions takes place through a collaboration between participating (partial) disciplines (general education, German education, art education, mathematics education, music education, educational psychology, social studies/general science, Physical Education and Sport Sciences).