More than half of the children in Germany under the age of six attend some sort of informal early education activities other than formal early education in daycare centers or family daycare. Among these activities are parent-child-playgroups, sport programs for children or early music or art education. Using representative micro-level data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) our study analyses factors which are correlated with the use of informal education activities by families in East and West Germany. Our results show that children in West German households with a high income and higher maternal education use such activities more often. For pre-schoolers aged 3-5 years informal education activities are complementary to the attendance of daycare centers. Moreover, our analyses show a significant relationship between the use of such activities and the adaptive behavior of children. Children who attend sport programs score higher in early development scales compared to children who do not participate in early sports. Thus, our study contributes to the literature providing an empirical analysis of informal activities for children from birth until school entry.
Mühler, Grit and C. Katharina Spieß (2008), Informelle Förderangebote - Eine empirische Analyse ihrer Nutzung in der frühen Kindheit, Zeitschrift für Erziehungswissenschaft Sonderheft 11-08 , 29-46