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Austrian children are facing problems with German

2,000 children (around 20 %) attending kindergarten in Salzburg need tutoring in German. This does not only concern children of immigrants: a quarter of the children concerned are originally Austrian.

These are the results of an inquiry initiated by the Social Democrats of the Landtag (Regional Parliament). Tina Widmann (ÖVP), Secretary of Family Affairs, delivered the information.

Not only children of immigrants need special support before starting school. A quarter of children attending kindergarten in Salzburg have weak German knowledge, although it is their mother tongue. This does not only apply to cities and urban areas, but also for rural areas.

Smaller communities such as Grödig, Oberndorf, St. Gilgen and Elixhausen in the district of Flachgau stand out when it comes to early language education. Other communities which stand out are Kuchl, Oberalm and Adnet (Tennengau), Werfenweng and Eben (Pongau) and Stuhlfelden, Bramberg and Uttendorf (Pinzgau).

According to SPÖ MP Margit Pfatschbacher, this early education does not happen because many children cannot speak German but because institutions such as kindergarten are particularly engaged in language development.

It is kindergarten teachers themselves who conduct language support. They feel that they are underpaid. For months they have been trying hard to obtain better pay, but have not succeeded so far.

Kindergarten teachers receive special education in supporting children with language and speech difficulties.

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