Mother, child and educator
Veit Mette

Family and ECEC/School: Children between opportunities and barriers

At the intersection of home and ECEC/school, children can experience barriers that contribute to educational inequality.

At the intersection of home and ECEC/school, children can experience barriers that contribute to educational inequality. While the (everyday) encounters and interactions among educational professionals, mothers, fathers and children might provide one child with opportunities, others are confronted with barriers that make participation more difficult and decrease their access to education – regardless of their individual abilities. The invisible processes that cause this to happen have rarely been the subject of research.

The everyday interactions and encounters that take place among parents, children, teachers and educational practitioners must be examined as a result. Ultimately, all children must have fair access and opportunities within the educational system. Together with the team led by Prof. Tanja Betz, early childhood researcher and educationalist at Goethe University Frankfurt, we are therefore carrying out the joint project Between opportunities and barriers. How parents, children and professionals at ECEC facilities and schools interact.  

The project’s two modules are seeking answers to the following questions: 

  1. Which attitudes and expectations do mothers, fathers and educational professionals at ECEC centers and schools have when they interact with each other? What have their experiences been until now? What would they like for the future?
  2. How do children experience the interactions of parents and professionals? What would they like when it comes to the involvement of their mothers and fathers at ECEC centers and schools? How do they view their own role in this context?

The goal of the project is to provide new momentum to the current educational policy debate. The focus will be on the actors’ everyday interactions as they relate to educational inequalities. The “educational partnerships” so often called for between parents and professionals will also be considered and explored against this background.

In a second step, approaches will be developed that shed light on how and under what conditions partnerships between parents, children and professionals can succeed in preventing the (re-)production of educational inequalities. To that end:

  • Action plans will be prepared for shaping childhood experiences from the social and educational policy perspectives. 
  • Approaches will be developed for ensuring inequality-sensitive practices in ECEC centers and primary schools.


all publications

Publication: The ideal of educational partnerships

Families and professionals at educational institutions are expected to “cooperate as equals”.