A lack of adequate German language skills is often discussed as a major reason for the disadvantage of children of immigrants in the German educational system. This article analyses the access to formal and informal early education of Turkish-origin children in Germany and the influence of these early education contexts on the children's German language acquisition. We use the frequency of stimulating parent–child activities as an indicator of informal education and the attendance in language instruction programmes at preschool as an indicator of formal education. The empirical results show that the frequency of parent–child activities in Turkish-origin families depends on parents’ social background and German language skills. Language instruction programmes in preschools are most frequently used by children who most likely need such programmes: children with low levels of German language skills. For the development of German language skills, parent–child activities seem to be most important.

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