The Leibniz Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education explores the developmental processes of children during the first eight years of life and the support they receive from family and institutional learning environments. The research program also focuses on questions concerning professional development of staff and the quality of learning opportunities in early childhood education.

The center's work focuses on intervention studies which examine the effects of preschool education on development in subsequent educational stages. Specific focus is also put on linking preschool and primary school programs.

The Center’s business and coordination is conducted through the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education in Kiel.



Members of the Leibniz Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education

The Leibniz Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education is an interdisciplinary research network with researchers from following disciplines:

  • Educational Psychology (IPN),
  • Developmental Psychology (DIPF, JLU Gießen, OFU Bamberg),
  • Education Research (IPN, Goethe University),
  • Cognitive Psychology (IWM),
  • Early Childhood Education (FU Berlin, OFU Bamberg),
  • Chemistry Education and Mathematics Education (IPN),
  • Educational Economics (DIW).

Affiliated Researchers


Prof. Dr. Yvonne Anders

Professor of Education with focus on "Early Childhood Education"

Freie Universität Berlin

Prof. Dr. Ilonca Hardy

Professor for primary school education with emphasis on empirical education research

Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt a.M.


Prof. Dr. Marcus Hasselhorn

Managing Director and Professor of Psychology with focus on education and development

DIPF, Frankfurt a.M.


Prof. Dr. Aiso Heinze

Head of the Department of Mathematics Education and Professor for Mathematics

IPN, Kiel

Prof. Dr. Olaf Köller

Managing Scientific Director and Head of the Department of Educational Research at the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education

IPN, Kiel

Prof. Dr. Anke Lindmeier

Deputy Head of Department Mathematics Education

IPN, Kiel


Prof. Dr. Jan Lonnemann

Professor for Empirical Childhood Studies

Universität Potsdam

Prof. Dr. Korbinian Möller

Professor for Applied Learning and Knowledge Psychology and Head of the Junior Research Group Neuro-cognitive Plasticity

IWM, Tübingen


Prof. Dr. Hans-Günther Roßbach

Professor of Early Childhood Education

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg


Dr. Daniel Schmerse

Research Scientist

IPN, Kiel

Prof. Dr. C. Katharina Spieß

Head of Department Education and Family at DIW and Chair of Educational and Family Economics at Freie Universität Berlin

DIW und Freie Universität, Berlin

Prof. Dr. Mirjam Steffensky

Associate Professor of Chemistry Education - Early Science Education

IPN, Kiel

Prof. Dr. Christina Schwenck

Professor for Learning, Developmental and Behavioral Problems in Childhood and Adolescence: Diagnostic and Intervention

Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

Prof. Dr. Sabine Weinert

Professor for Developmental Psychology

Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg


Project 1: Development contexts

What are the relationships between general cognitive abilities and domain-specific competences?

The project examines early roots of competence development. Specifically, we analyze links between general cognitive abilities (information processing skills, executive functions) and domain-specific competency development (linguistic, mathematical competencies) in early childhood. The role of language and language development will receive special attention. This is of particular importance for fostering development as language is both an important means of instruction and communication as well as a central means of mental representation. The project focuses on two main topics which are analyzed using existing longitudinal data (NEPS, BiKS). On the one hand, we examine the influence of early skills at the ages of 7 and 16 months on later competency development in preschool. The second focus is on the relationship between linguistic, cognitive, mathematical and early science skills in the transition from preschool to primary school.
Project 2: Early childhood science education
Project 3: Acquisition of knowledge in geometry


The Leibniz Center of Excellence for Early Childhood Education can be reached at:

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