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Methods for early language learning to level playing field for children

Princess Marie will open a conference focusing on methods to help children do well in school and later in life. Parents’ educational and cultural backgrounds are more important than one would think. Consequently, children do not have equal opportunities when they start school.

Danish children do not have a level playing field when they start school. Children with poorly educated parents are six times more likely than others to have difficulties with the Danish language when they start school. Children of parents with non-western backgrounds are as much as 14 times more likely to struggle with Danish.

This is a difficult problem, since both spoken and written language skills have been shown to be important for children’s ability to learn when they start school, as well as for their later educational and job opportunities.

“But it doesn’t have to be that way,” says Professor Dorthe Bleses from the Centre for Child Language at SDU. “International research suggests that a systematic approach to supporting learning with activities and daycare courses can give children more equal opportunities to do well in school.”

Conference on early language learning

On Monday 20 January, the Centre for Child Language will host a conference exploring the circumstances that make it easy or difficult for children to acquire language. The conference, which will be opened by Princess Marie, will also investigate effective methods for helping children who struggle with language acquisition.

Professor Michael Rosholm at Aarhus University, head of Denmark’s first research centre for the wellbeing of children and young people, will begin by discussing why the major efforts to break the vicious circle of negative social heritage seem to have so little effect.

In collaboration with Rambøll, Head of the Centre for Child Language Dorthe Bleses will present a systematic survey of the factors in children’s environments that affect their language development and the initiatives that have proved effective in improving language skills and literacy.

The conference will also be attended by the internationally renowned American researcher Erica Hoff.

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