The Bremen Initiative to Foster Early Childhood Development (BRISE) is a longitudinal study that systematically investigates the effects of early childhood intervention. BRISE follows approximately 1,000 disadvantaged families in Bremen. The program links selected measures beginning at a prenatal stage and continuing until the first year of primary school. The measures are integrated in everyday life and most of them are already established in Bremen. They are implemented in the family home or in the day-care institution.
Research within the scope of BRISE examines the cumulative effects of a coordinated intervention program on the participating children’s cognitive, social and emotional development. The first four years of funding come from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); a subsequent 4-year grant period is planned. BRISE employs a quasi-experimental longitudinal research design to gauge effects of the coordinated program on multiple dimensions. Families participating in the intervention chain will be compared with families who decide for themselves in which and in how many of Bremen’s programs they enroll. Over a period of up to two years, approximately 1 000 disadvantaged families in Bremen will be included in our sample. Linking BRISE to the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) as well as to the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) further enables comparative analyses with additional high-quality data. The insights gained in Bremen will inform policy on early childhood and be constructive in providing equal opportunities for all children, protecting children, and promoting their development and participation in society.
The primary responsibility of the IPN will be to coordinate the joint research project. Data collection will be conducted by the University of Bremen; the Max Planck Institute for Human Development will assist in setting up the required facilities and utilities (i.e., laboratories) at the University of Bremen. In terms of research foci, the IPN will address the development of early childhood educators’ professional competencies and domain-specific processes in mathematics and science. The University of Bremen specializes in developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology. The German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) contributes an education economics approach to gauging the effects of the coordinated intervention program. Moreover, it will link BRISE with the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). The University of Bamberg and the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories will collaborate in establishing BRISE’s link with the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS). The two panel studies lend themselves to comparative analyses with BRISE. The assessment of early childhood development, in particular milestones in normal development, are the focus at Heidelberg University. The Freie Universität Berlin, finally, specializes in investigating how family and early childhood educators interact with the children.