Welcome to the online portal “Frühe Chancen”!
The portal “Frühe Chancen” (“early opportunities”) by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth offers information about early childhood education and care in Germany. It is aimed at pedagogic professionals, parents and anyone responsible for shaping child day care.
The portal provides a comprehensive overview of news and current topics, childcare numbers, the quality of child day care in Germany, as well as various topics like integration, equal opportunities or qualification in the area of early childhood education and care.
Improving quantity and quality of child day care in Germany
Access to high-quality early childhood education and care creates equal opportunities for all children and has a positive impact on their later course of education. Child day care plays a crucial role for many parents, especially when it comes to maintaining the balance between work and family life. In order to meet demands, the Federal Government is strengthening its support of the expansion and improvements in the quality of child day care.
The Childcare Funding Act (Kinderförderungsgesetz – KiföG), which became effective on December 16th 2008, marks a significant step towards ensuring that day care for children under the age of three in Germany meets demand in a high-quality manner. It regulates, among other things, the legal entitlement to a childcare place for all children from the age of one, which must by law be assigned to them in Germany as of August 1st 2013. Likewise, children of families with a refugee background also have a legal entitlement to early childhood education and care in a day care facility from the age of one.
The financing of the development of child day care has a solid backing. The Federal Government has contributed a total of 5.95 billion euros toward the expansion through various investment programs. From 2015 onward, the Federal Government has invested 845 million euros annually, as well as contributing 945 million euros toward operating costs in 2017 and 2018. As part of a fourth investment program, the Federal Government provides an additional 1.126 billion euros in the years from 2017 to 2021. This allows for the creation of an additional 100,000 day care places for children up until school age. It additionally allows for improvements in quality. The goal: equal opportunities in education for all children and an improved ability to balance work and family life.
The quality development process
Both federal and state governments want to improve the quality of child day care in Germany. The interim report from November 2016 titled “Developing and Financially Ensuring Early Education” details the first jointly agreed-upon quality goals. Fields of action include, for instance, the improvement of staff-child-ratios, further qualification of paedagogical staff, the strengthening of leadership or the professionalisation of child day care. Many other key actors were involved in the quality development process, including representatives of communities, social institutions, scientific associations and day care organisations, as well as parents and unions. An important milestone towards higher quality in day care was reached in May 2017: The Youth and Family Ministers’ Conference agreed upon the cornerstones of the quality development law by a large majority.
Various federal programs support the improvement of quality
The Federal Government is currently supporting the qualitative improvement of day care through various federal programs:
The federal program “Sprach-Kitas: Weil Sprache der Schlüssel zur Welt ist” (“Language-Day-Care: Because language is the key to the world”) promotes language education in the daily routine of day care centres. This is an important step towards ensuring equal opportunities.
The federal program “KitaPlus: Weil gute Betreuung keine Frage der Uhrzeit ist” (“Day-CarePlus: Because good day care is not a matter of time of day”) promotes extended care hours for day care facilities and childminders to allow parents to better balance work and family life.
Childminders provide early childhood education and care in a family-like setting with small and manageable groups. The federal program “Kindertagespflege: Weil die Kleinsten große Nähe brauchen” (“Childminding: Because the smallest need big support”) contributes toward improving the paedagogical work of childminders and the structural quality of child day care in general.
Good child-care means equal opportunities for all children. Currently, however, not all families benefit equally from child-care in its role as a form of early education. The federal program “Kita-Einstieg: Brücken bauen in frühe Bildung” (“Day-Care-Enrollment: Building bridges to early education”) supports low threshold services which aim to prepare for and accompany entry into day care.
Further information regarding child day care in German and English is provided by the International Center Early Childhood Education and Care (ICEC).