Early Childhood Education and Care

The work area deals with questions of early childhood education and care.

The work focuses primarily on the following areas: educational quality in ECEC institutions (preschools and crèches) and their pedagogical concepts, professionalisation in elementary education, leadership styles and behaviour as well as work stress, well-being and health of preschool teachers, educational disparities in preschool age, relationships and interactions between preschool teachers, parents and children, personality of children and preschool teachers.

Questions of early childhood education and care of zero to six year old children are of high social and political relevance. The work area deals with current conditions, opportunities and limits of early childhood education institutions and families. The area works with both quantitative and qualitative methods, as well as theoretical and systematising work.


4th Innsbruck Conference on Elementary Education

On 26.09.2025 and 27.09.2025 the 4th Innsbruck Conference on Elementary Education takes place on the topic "Learning in Early Childhood Education and Care".

Further information can be found here:

Scientific staff


Student employees

Franziska Aspmair
Student assistant


Hanna Lorenzin
Student assistant


The Department of Early Childhood Education (Elementary Education) offers various courses on changing elementary education topics both in the Bachelor's programme in Educational Science and in the Master's programme in Educational Science. Courses have been and are offered on the following topics, among others:

  • Education in families and child day care facilities
    The course describes and analyses theories and research findings on understanding learning and educational processes in the family and elementary educational institutions. The focus is on pedagogical intergenerational relationships and the interaction of family and elementary educational contexts during transitions in education. In addition to their importance for individual learning and educational development, the family, crèche and kindergarten are also discussed as social institutions with culturally and historically different structures and functions. Their contribution to the creation, maintenance and reduction of social inequalities is discussed.
  • Developmental psychological aspects of early childhood education and upbringing
    The course examines early childhood learning. The focus is on emotional, social, cognitive and motivational-volitional aspects that are significant for the theory and practice of elementary education.
  • Teaching and learning: (Early) educational action concepts under discussion
    Discussion of concepts of action in early childhood education (including Fröbel, Waldorf, Reggio, Montessori, Tools of the Mind, Kinderläden, Freinet, Pikler) with regard to: historical development, anthropological and paradigmatic basic assumptions, theoretical framing, basic concepts and core statements, research findings on implementation and effect, among others
  • Pedagogical quality in day care centres
    The course will focus on the following topics, among others: Definitions of pedagogical quality, theoretical approaches, multi-perspectivity, approaches to pedagogical quality, national and international findings on pedagogical quality in elementary educational institutions
  • Professionalisation in early childhood education
    The course will focus on the following topics, among others: Definitions of profession, professionalism and professionalisation, historical aspects of the meaning of profession, professionalism and professionalisation in early childhood education, discussion of current professionalisation models in early childhood education, critical classification of central research findings on professionalisation in early childhood education.
  • Special issues of development and socialisation: early education and upbringing
    The course focuses, among other things, on the following: definitional delimitations of education and upbringing, anthropological basic assumptions and developmental psychological foundations, educational theoretical approaches in early childhood education (e.g. self-education, co-constructivism), current and "classic" educational approaches (e.g. Montessori education, situational approaches, compensatory education), educational domains in early childhood education (e.g. language, mathematics, science).
  • Seminar on the Bachelor's thesis
    The topics of the Bachelor's theses, which are worked on in this seminar, are in the field of elementary education. The seminar serves to support the individual and independent process of writing a Bachelor's thesis.
10/2024 bis 10/2027: Research project „Work stress, health and educational quality in preschools“(funded by the Austrian Science Fund, FWF)

Brief description: The research project aims to study work stress and health of preschool teachers. Furthermore, the study focusses on educational quality in preschools in Tyrol.  

9/2024 – 8/2026: Research project „Frühe sprachliche Bildung und Förderung – Ausbildung und Praxis gemeinsam erforschen und gestalten“(Early language education and support - researching and developing education and practice together), (funded by the States of Tyrol, Lower Austria, ad Vienna, with Dr. Lena Cataldo-Schwarzl und Dr. Niku Dorostkar, Katholische Pädagogische Hochschule Wien/Krems)

Brief description: This cooperative research project aims to shed light on the topic of early language support in the context of early childhood education practice and training in Lower Austria, Tyrol and Vienna. The aim is to develop methods and educational materials for early language education and support.

8/2023 - 8/2024: Research project "Education for sustainable development in early childhood and social education institutions".
(SENSE) (supported by the Euregio Mobility Fund, cooperation project with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Iris Nentwig-Gesemann, Free University of Bozen/Bolzano and Univ.-Prof. Simona De Falco, University of Trento)
Brief description: The project aims to outline Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) as a global challenge, to discuss various social and early childhood education concepts and to gain an in-depth insight into examples of good practice of sustainability-oriented education and educational work.

6/2023 - 5/2025: Research project "The quality of preschool teachers' training in Austria and Ukraine: A comparative analysis" (funded by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture).
(funded by the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research; cooperation project with Univ.-Prof. Dr. Oresta Karpenko, Drohobych Ivan Franko State Pedagogical University, Ukraine)
Brief description: The research project conducts a comparative analysis of preschool teachers' training at pedagogical colleges (Austria) and universities (Ukraine) by doing document analyses, surveys, and guided interviews.

9/2022 - 8/2023: Research project "Assistants in kindergartens - an important but hardly noticed occupational group ".
(funded by the Chamber of Labour for Tyrol; together with Prof. Dr. Bernhard Koch, University of Education Tyrol).
Brief description: The research project examines various aspects of the professionalisation of assistants in kindergartens in Tyrol.

3/2021 - 12/2021: Research project "COVID-19 pandemic and parental promotion of early literacy ".
(funded by the province of Tyrol)
Brief description: The research project investigates aspects of parental support for children's early literacy skills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study is primarily aimed at parents of kindergarten children who are about to start school (in the last year of kindergarten).

7/2020 - 12/2020: Research project on home learning environments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
(together with Jun.-Prof. Dr. Melanie Jester, University of Koblenz-Landau, univ.-internal funds).

10/2018 - 12/2021: Research project InKi "Interaction quality of children in kindergarten"
(funded by the Fund for the Promotion of Scientific Research, FWF).
Brief description: Children acquire basic skills primarily through interaction processes. The quality of these interactions is of great importance for their linguistic, cognitive and social-emotional development as well as for their educational success. Especially against the background of educational disadvantages, findings on the quality of interaction in kindergartens are therefore of great relevance. The aim of the study is to cross-sectionally and longitudinally examine the quality of the children's interactions with teachers and peers as well as the quality of their engagement with the educational offers of the institutions on the basis of a sample of 360 kindergarten children from 90 kindergartens in Austria (Tyrol). The expected gain in knowledge is a more precise understanding of children's interactions in kindergartens, which can be used to improve children's interaction competence.

9/2018 - 8/2021: Research project LeiKi "Leadership Quality in Day Care Facilities for Children "
(funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF/Germany; together with Dr. Thilo Schmidt, University of Koblenz-Landau).
Short description: In the project "Management Quality in Child Day Care Facilities", the researchers are investigating the role of managers in child day care facilities with regard to their pedagogical process quality. In addition, the institution's management and personnel characteristics (e.g. professional qualifications and background, professional goals) will be examined in order to determine the relationship between leadership quality and pedagogical process quality. The focus will be on leadership behaviour in heterogeneous pedagogical teams. For the surveys, the project uses, among other things, the Classroom Assessment Scoring System established in the English-speaking world. The successful leaders identified in this way will be interviewed in depth in order to work out significant characteristics of good leadership quality. Information at: https://www.empirische-bildungsforschung-bmbf.de/de/2859.php

10/2017 - 6/2018: Research project "Quality indicators of forest childcare facilities in Tyrol" (funded by the Tyrol)
(funded by the Province of Tyrol and the Vice-Rectorate for Research of the University of Innsbruck).

since 3/2015: Dissertation projects on elementary education research questions

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