The situation in day care centers in Germany is very tense. Not only is the staff poor working conditions and high workload, but the equipment is also insufficient in some cases. This is the result of the report of the Paritätischer Gesamtverband day care center, which will be published on Monday. This makes it difficult for educational professionals to meet children’s needs, this national survey shows. Therefore, there is great discontent among daycare professionals.
According to the study, the persistently large shortage of skilled workers in every second day care center prevents full utilization of capabilities. 60% of those who participated in the survey assume that they cannot meet the needs of children with the current staffing ratio.
A study commissioned by the German Congress to administer Kita reached a similar conclusion in April. Accordingly, the staff shortage has worsened in recent years. In many facilities, there are sometimes too few personnel on site to meet the scientifically recommended requirements for supervision.
The Paritätisches study also found that day care centers in socially disadvantaged areas in particular are affected by a very low staff rate. This is fatal: because the greater the socio-spatial deprivation, the more children need support, for example through language training. The extent to which a social disadvantaged area is considered in the study depends on how many people near the daycare center receive social benefits and whether many people have only a low level of formal education.
Staff shortages in nurseries have become a growing problem. The number of children attending nurseries or nurseries is increasing, as evidenced by figures published by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs last Thursday. In total, more than 48,000 children attended pediatric day care in 2021 compared to the previous year.
Despite this, according to the ministry, the need to take care of children of all ages still outstrips supply. Also, because demand is expected to rise this year, it is very telling that many daycare centers are already far from the recommended staffing level. According to the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, admission of people seeking protection from Ukraine will require the care of more children.
Family Secretary Lisa Bowes (Green Party) has now announced additional efforts with states and federal municipalities to attract more professionals to care facilities. In addition, the quality of child care must be improved. “When children receive high-quality support and care, we create more equal opportunities for children, improve family-work matching and encourage women to work,” Baws emphasized.
In nearly half of daycare centers across the country, 20 percent or more of children speak a language other than German at home. According to the study by Paritätisches, the resulting need for support often cannot actually be covered. “The skilled workers on site are achieving huge things every day under really challenging conditions in many places. Especially when many children grow up poor or rely on private support, daycare centers also complain of poor equipment, says Ulrich Schneider, the association’s general manager. The greater the socio-spatial deprivation, the more dissatisfied the survey participants with the interior design was. “There is an urgent need for meaningful and better support here,” Schneider demands.
It is also remarkable that there are twice as many large day care centers in areas with high socio-spatial barriers than in less disadvantaged areas. But the study revealed more structural flaws – for example in the area of financing day care centres. New and replacement purchases are not normal in many places.
More than a third of those surveyed also stated that the funds provided were not sufficient to provide children with a balanced diet. “It’s an indictment when in this rich country we fail to give every child a healthy meal, the best possible support for their individual development and as carefree a childhood as possible,” Schneider says.