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Why is the family so important for learning

Parents, or the family of origin, represent a significant factor in learning success. Results from international longitudinal studies suggest that the characteristics of the families of origin, specifically their interest in education, are crucial influencing factors for cognitive, linguistic, and social-emotional development.

Families are learning environments that provide experiences relevant to school performance. These can be stimulating and supportive in different ways. Parents can directly (e.g., by practicing automatable skills) or indirectly (e.g., by providing encyclopedias or the Internet) influence the development of interests and motivation to learn and thus learning and achievement outcomes. It can be seen that the nurturing family type with a stimulating environment and a high expectation of achievement produced the most favorable learning development in German and mathematics among the children.

Secure ties, family cohesion and a positive family climate – characterized by investment of time, sufficient support and affection – constitute the so-called social capital of a family and are an essential condition for school success. But cultural capital, which includes economic and cultural characteristics such as class, income, level of education or migration background, also influences school success.