It is in early childhood that the course is set for the development of cognitive and social skills. According to a 2011 study by the Jacobs Foundation, major Swiss cities have adopted early childhood strategies and offer a variety of programs for children as well as parents. But most of these programs operate in isolation from one another. To achieve a long-term impact, they should be linked and coordinated, and they need broad political support. Constant improvement of the pedagogical quality is also essential.
In 2012, the Jacobs Foundation launched its “Primokiz – Locally Networked Early Support” program in 25 small and medium-sized Swiss cities. Early childhood experts worked with the participating towns to formulate a strategy aimed at linking projected or existing early childhood education and care programs in a way that would achieve the greatest possible impact. A number of tools were provided, including a list of quality criteria and success factors. Participating sites also benefited from the practical experience and advice of reference cities: Aarau, Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva, Lausanne, Lucerne, St. Gallen, Winterthur and Zurich.
After the success of Primokiz, the Jacobs Foundation decided to launch an expanded program called Primokiz2 in 2017. It is being implemented at approximately 80 sites.