Ilwa Everglad has purple hair and a magic sock. She can transform into anything, is funny and prepares children in the last year of kindergarten linguistically for school. The multimedia learning program, consisting of picture cards, posters and an app, was developed by the Austrian Integration Fund (ÖIF) and is intended to support children with German as a second language in learning German. Ilwa guides you through 20 stories dealing with topics such as road traffic, waste separation, nature, technology and much more. The vocabulary is expanded and grammar is practiced with rhymes, sayings and movement elements. “With the app, we also want to get the parents on board, they also get access and can practice with the children,” says Birgit Kofler, head of language support at the ÖIF.
Pilot project with 140 children
The program is currently running as a pilot project with 140 children in kindergartens in Vienna, Graz and Linz. In the state capital, the facilities on Pestalozzistrasse and Glimpfingerstrasse were chosen. “I welcome the initiative, it fits the city of Linz’s focus on digitization,” says Deputy Mayor Karin Hörzing (SP). But not only the 29 school beginners in Pestalozzistrasse are participating, the other children also use the materials that are freely accessible in the kindergarten. “It’s about improving your vocabulary, regardless of whether you have a migration background or not,” says Kofler.
The project is being evaluated by the Tirol University of Education and is then to be rolled out throughout Austria.