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PINA: Potsdam Research Institute for Early Learning and Educational Action

PINA is an interdisciplinary research network of the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and the University of Potsdam on early childhood education and development.

Logo des Forschungsprojekts PINA
Start date:
Research project
Interdisciplinary project (InterFlex)
Forming Society
Cooperation partners:

University of Potsdam

Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth


The Potsdam Research Institute for Early Learning and Educational Action (PINA) is an association of researchers in the early childhood education research group and external researchers with an interest in basic and applied questions of child development and educational processes.

The institute was founded in May 2017 by Prof. Dr Frauke Hildebrandt (FHP), Prof. Dr Gerlind Große (FHP), Dr Caroline Wronski (FHP), Prof. Dr Birgit Elsner (UP) and Prof. Dr Nadine Spörer (UP); cooperation currently exists between the two universities in particular, but also with other research institutions (Max Planck Institute for Human Development Berlin, University of Leipzig, Free University Berlin).

PINA is to be transformed into a cross-university research institute in the next few years. The cross-university working group on early childhood education research is developing a joint research infrastructure under the umbrella of PINA. This includes, in particular, the development and maintenance of a joint database with contacts of cooperating daycare centres and families participating in the studies of the working group. The database is based on a template from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, is maintained at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam (FHP) and meets the latest data protection standards.

The goal of the Potsdam Research Institute for Early Learning and Educational Action (PINA), founded in 2017, is in particular the further networking and visibility of Potsdam as a location for early childhood education research, the initiation of research cooperations, scientific and practice-oriented events and publications, as well as the joint development of young researchers.

Under the umbrella of PINA, work has begun on building a joint research infrastructure. This includes, in particular, the creation and maintenance of a joint database with contacts of cooperating daycare centres and families. In addition, a PINA website has been set up (, which serves as an information platform for researchers, practitioners and families and provides information about current research activities and events.

The next steps are:

  • Establishment of a graduate programme in cooperation with the UP
  • the organisational anchoring of PINA as a research institute

PINA laboratory

A research laboratory for developmental psychology and pedagogical studies has been set up at the FHP site; it comprises two observation rooms equipped with modern video technology and a technical room and will open in October 2018. Here, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of educational processes can be studied in pedagogical interaction under controlled conditions.

The combination of laboratory and field research characterises the methodological approach of application-oriented basic research. In 2018, the working group also developed a comprehensive concept on data protection, research ethics and safeguarding, which regulates the quality and safety of research with children, families and professionals based on current guidelines. An address database is currently being set up with daycare centres and families in Brandenburg who are interested in cooperating and participating in the study.

In addition, mobile observation units have been purchased for field use.

Förderlogo des BMFSFJ


Project management

Caroline Wronski

Dr. Caroline Wronski

Academic Assistant in the Degree Programme Early Childhood Studies (M. A.)

Project management

Project management

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Prof. Dr. Gerlind Große

Research Professor for Early Childhood Studies
Head of PINA Research Laboratory

Project management

  • Prof. Dr. Jan Lonnemann (Uni Potsdam)
  • Prof. Dr. Birgit Elsner (Uni Potsdam)



  • Bianka Pergande
  • Ruben Maué
  • Dr. Gregor Kachel
  • Jasmin Luthardt