A Language Bag for Children with Danish as Second Language

A language suitcase with books and learning games makes a great difference for children of parents with Danish as second language. The language suitcase contained materials and instructions that should prepare parents with Danish as second language to be better to help their children linguistically to be ready for starting in school.

Time period:

2009 – 2011.

Target group:

Children with Danish as their second language in the age 4-5 years.     

Number of participants:

284 children divided between 61 day daycare in Aarhus.     


In the test the children were given one language suitcase, which contained children’s books, memories plus an explaining DVD with language development techniques for their parents. First day, the pedagogues introduced the parents to the suitcase, after which the suitcase was sent home with the parents for home use. In addition to this the parents did not receive further instructions or reminders about the project before the end of the test, and therefore it was up to the parents whether they would use the language suitcase.    


The effect of the language suitcase is evaluated through a randomized controlled trial. The daycares of Aarhus municipality were divided by draw into an effort group and a control group. The children in the first mentioned group received the language suitcase, while the children in the comparison group got the average ‘before school support’.

To measure the effort’s effect, the studies of the project have been based on Aarhus municipality’s obligatory language screening test. The language-screening test, tests the children’s level of vocabulary, language understanding and sentence structure. The test decides, whether the children need extra linguistic support in school, in form of a reception class or a special class, and pedagogues in the child’s daycare implement it.    


Aarhus Kommune/Municipality    


The language suitcase had a positive effect, given that it reduced the number of children starting in school with the need of a special class from 7 % of an year group of children starting in school with Danish as second language to 0,7 %. A decrease that corresponds to 89 %.

The language suitcase was especially effective for the children, whose mothers did not have a registered education. For these children the need for special class was reduced from 17 % of a year group of bilingual school starters to none.     


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