The new research project LLEAP (Language and Literacy Educational Activities for Preschoolers) aims to create a strong evidence base for a coherent national language support for children from 3 to 5 years of age in daycare. The project stems from the growing focus on early language acquisition in Denmark - a focus which is based on that the research in the last decades has shown a link between language skills in daycare and later literacy skills in school, which is essential for success in future job- and life opportunities. The growing focus has also led to recognition of that there is a lack of effective and proven tools that educators can use to support language acquisition, particularly among children where language acquisition is not progressing as expected. The new project will try to help and correct this.
In the new research project LLEAP (Language and Literacy Educational Activities for Preschoolers) there will be carried out an efficacy study evaluating the short-and long-term effects of newly developed program-based approaches to language stimulation based on structured play. The program bases works on how to embed systematic, explicit and differentiated approaches to language stimulation in the games and activities that are already taking place in daycare. The research project can be seen as a program base of the educational agenda that was initiated with the Language Package where evidence-based tools and methods were introduced through a practice-based approach to professional development (see www.sprogpakken.dk). The research project is thus a direct extension of the Language Package training activities.
In the efficacy study the effects of different interventions are compared, where the degree of differentiation, systematics and explicit varies in different conditions: a non-program based condition corresponding to normal practice, a non-program based condition in small groups based on the use of differentiation strategies in the everyday conversations embedded in various activities, a program based condition in small groups and a program based condition in a large group - the last two conditions are based on play-based and thematically organized activity courses focused on speech language skills and literacy qualifications. The methods are based on - and qualify - learning activities already in some degree used in Danish daycare among children from 3 to 5 years of age and support a coherent and inclusive language effort as the language efforts act as an integrated part of the daily educational practice.