study or Vocational Training – this question is asked by many who want to do something educational. What speaks for a study? What vocational training? And can both be combined?

Career Early childhood education: study or training?

Weichensteller Frühpädagogik: training opportunities and studies

Those who want to look after the youngest have mostly been so far Womenwho this Job seize – traditionally does an apprenticeship as an educator. But the job profile is changing: politicians are increasingly recognizing which ones Significance the early childhood Education for later development has and wants to academicize the training.

For this reason, numerous bachelor programs have been created in this field in recent years. But which is the better way - education or study?

Education as educator at a school for social education

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Birgit Brombacher knows both things: After completing her A-levels, she first undertook a two-year training as an educator at the Friedrich Fröbel School of Social Education in Mannheim, which alternates between school lessons and day and block practicals. This was followed by a year of recognition in a day care center. Her conclusion: She has learned a lot for the practical work, but from the beginning she lacked the theoretical foundation:

“About me at all at college apply To be able to do so, I first had to do a pre-study internship. I was thrown into the job without any prior knowledge. "

Not uniformly regulated

The education to educator, as Brombacher has graduated, is not uniformly regulated nationwide. As a rule, training at a vocational school for social education lasts two years, followed by a year of recognition. A uniform prerequisite is a middle-level education, usually the secondary school certificate, and a completed vocational education in a socio-educational or social profession. However, there are different ways of proof of activity in the various federal states. So this can vary from a pre-study internship in a socio-educational institution to a completed vocational training.

In most federal states, the training period is three years, which, like Brombacher's, is divided into two years of school education and one year of recognition. In some schools, this is distributed in internships over the three-year training period. If necessary, the recognition year can be completed half a day for two years. Also different are the regulations in which period after taking the final exam the recognition year must be started. And in some federal states, there has been no recognition year for some time, but the entry requirements are regulated differently.

Proof of achievement in education

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During the school education certificates of achievement such as exams, project work, chores, which have to be provided. Practical training sessions normally require the writing of internship reports and, in addition, internships provide assessments or certificates of attendance, which are included in the grading. In each half-year, there is a certificate showing the level of performance.

Based on the examination regulations of the respective federal state, the school education is completed with the state examination. This can consist of a written paper followed by a colloquium or exams. In addition, the students have to prove that they can implement the acquired theoretical knowledge in practical work. In most cases, a work plan must be drawn up and an offer or Projects be prepared, carried out and followed up independently with a group of children or young people.

This is what professional education does

The subjects of school education and final exams at almost all technical schools are subjects such as pedagogy, Psychology, Didactics and methodology of socio-educational practice, legal studies or sociology as well as health education, biology, literature and media work and German. In addition, artistic, creative, musical and exercise-promoting subjects are on the schedule. A broad spectrum, but without one depth to convey scientific background knowledge. Birgit Brombacher felt under-challenged:

“The training did cover a lot, but with frequent repetitions, short school days and simple exams. I could probably have managed the material from two years in six months. Since the students had very different access requirements, this was not possible. Colleagues with a high school diploma did better overall. ”

Bachelor's degree program

Birgit Brombacher wanted more: a broader expertise and a well-founded qualification. Above all, however, she wanted to expand her range of activities and improve her career prospects. After all, an academic degree brings more recognition – and hopefully as a perspective a corresponding increase in salary. Therefore, after a short detour via a psychology degree in Düsseldorf and a few years as an educator, she completed the bachelor's degree in early childhood and elementary education (felbi for short) at the Heidelberg University of Education.

Here she is now learning the in-depth background knowledge and the scientific approach that have been missing in technical education so far. How important this is when working with small children, explains the course director Professor Dr. Hermann Scholer:

“Early education doesn't just mean tinkering and singing a little. It is much more important that educators know what happens to the child, what effects it has, and how the child will develop before starting educational processes. Therefore developmental psychology is an important part of our course! ”

The bachelor's course with a further focus on early childhood between the ages of zero and three aims to impart practical skills of a technical, methodological and social-communicative nature. The six-semester course is in great demand: 40 out of 520 study places that are allocated in a selection interview each semester Candidate. The tuition fees are 500 euros per semester. Part-time studies are also possible.

How is the course set up?

The students have to complete a total of 33 modules from five areas. Each module consists of at least two courses and is completed with an examination. The modules are in areas such as Prävention and promotion, education management or early and elementary education as a scientific field of work. In the area of ​​early childhood and elementary education, however, in addition to compulsory modules such as educational processes in crèches and day-care centers or mathematics and logic in elementary education, students also have free modules Choice from various modules such as design and image competence, body, perception and dance or philosophy with children.

“Every aspiring pedagogue has very special interests and skills - and they should be able to concentrate on them during their studies. It doesn't matter Sinn, if someone who cares for creativity and handicrafts, can only do sports - and vice versa. Our students should therefore get to know everything”,

explains course director Professor Dr. Hermann Schöler the wide offer.

What do the teaching modules do?

A good half of the modules are covered by lecturers from practice - such as the neuropediatric director of a SPZ, the dramaturge of a children's theater or a psychomotorist. During the lecture period, students also complete a four-hour daily internship, usually in a crèche or kindergarten. As a rule, they spend more than two semesters in one institution.

The one-day internships have special focal points and are closely linked to the learning content at the university as far as possible. In addition, during the lecture-free period, the students do block internships of several weeks that are also thematically assigned, in order to also experience the daily routine in an institution. In addition, the students complete a supervision interview every two weeks, in which they Problems reflect on professional practice.

What are the advantages of studying?

It was precisely this interlocking of practical elements, theoretical background knowledge and self-reflection, which she lacked in technical education, that was the reason for Birgit Brombacher to begin her felbi studies. For example, she finds it positive that she now knows which neuronal processes take place in a child when she learns. And she can detect behavioral problems much better in her day-to-day work and then solve the problem by working with specialists from neighboring disciplines, as she explains with two examples.

"If I suspect that a child's motor or language development is impaired, I can now carry out the first diagnostic tests myself and then ensure that the child is supported in good time - for example by an occupational therapist, physiotherapist or speech therapist. I can also do the opposite Power and recognize and promote the children’s resources better.”

New media in education

Brombacher is particularly enthusiastic about the opportunities offered by working with new media such as digital photography and video - and for which the students in Heidelberg are specially trained in video technology and editing. On the one hand, they can record their own work on video and then analyze it with lecturers and fellow students for opportunities for improvement. On the other hand, the modern Technology but above all in counseling sessions with parents, as the student explains from professional practice:

“We can only achieve something if we enter into an educational partnership with the parents. So it is useful to be able to film child behavioral problems, the child's strengths, the interaction between parents and child, and to illustrate to parents what is already working well and what could possibly be done better. ”

Dear study as an education

Birgit Brombacher would therefore, if she could choose today, immediately for felbi without having to go through the detour of training as a teacher and studying psychology decide. She can't think of any disadvantages of the course, on the contrary, although she already brought a lot of experience with her, the contents did not overlap:

“The course is so well designed that I never thought 'I already know, I already know'.”

Why is an academization of education useful?

More than 50 courses like felbi specifically for early childhood Education are now available at technical colleges, universities or teacher training colleges in Germany. Most were launched in the last five years and are completed with a bachelor's degree. In addition, there are a few master’s courses and extra-occupational offers. As a rule, the Abitur is a prerequisite for the course, but at some universities a technical college entrance qualification is sufficient.

Traditionally, however, there are numerous prejudices against the academic education of educators, according to the motto "What differentiates a lantern that was made by a trained educator from one that was made by an academic?" According to this understanding, education only begins with school.

Criticism of the German education system

This is already shown by the name of the pre-school facilities: German small children attend care facilities such as kindergartens or after-school care centers. The visit is voluntary, but costs Money. Only going to school is mandatory and free of charge. In France, on the other hand, children go to the école maternelle and in Sweden to pre-school.

But since the PISA study, the German education system has been in the Criticism advised – especially early childhood education. In an international comparison, namely clear: All major EU countries such as Spain, France, Italy or Great Britain already require a pedagogical one for kindergartens and pre-schools Concept and provide verifiable educational standards in five core areas - language, mathematics, sport, artistic and scientific early education - as well as evaluation procedures for assessing the children's developmental progress.

Early education is demanding

In Germany, on the other hand, you restrict yourself to more generally formulated objectives such as the “social and emotional, physical and mental development” of the child. And there are also differences when it comes to training: teachers are trained at university level in almost all European countries - but not in Germany!

At the same time, research has long since confirmed the importance of sophisticated education, especially in the first six years of life. Nevertheless, according to a study by the consulting firm McKinsey, which was commissioned by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in Stuttgart, only ten percent of under-3s in Germany attend a care facility, in Sweden it is almost 50 percent, and in Denmark, the European leader, even 64 percent.

What changes now

The PISA shock, expert criticism of the Early Childhood Education System and the adoption of child daycare plans prompted the development of early childhood education programs.

By the year 2013 there should be nationwide for every third child under three years a childcare place. Closely interlinked with this quantitative expansion of childcare provision is the requirement for the quality of education for the very young.

Quality of education must be improved

“The quality of early childhood education, upbringing and care in our day-care centers must be further improved. This can only be achieved if the professionals for their educational Tasks are qualified accordingly and the entire professional field is reformed in the face of new educational and family policy challenges. A two- to three-year apprenticeship at technical college level is usually not enough to impart this broad and demanding profile of skills.”

sagt Dr. Andrea Binder, Head of Education and Society of the Robert Bosch Foundation (delete GmbH here) in Stuttgart. About this Objective In 2005, the Robert Bosch Foundation launched the program PiK - Profis in Daycare Centers.

Professional KITAS

“PiK is a Robert Bosch Foundation program for the professionalization of early childhood educators in Germany. Our goal is to achieve a quality boost for the entire system of early childhood care, education and upbringing between the ages of 0 and 10 through the development of new training and further education opportunities. As a result of the PiK initiative, the publication “Frühpädagogik studieren – an orientation framework for universities” was published.”

explained Dr. Binder

The orientation framework mentioned describes a broad spectrum of Competencies, which can be taught to early childhood professionals as part of academic training in bachelor’s degree programs.

In addition to pedagogical skills, this includes management skills, organizational skills, as well as concept and quality development - competencies that also enable leadership functions. An increase in teacher education at university level will also be reflected in a higher tariff classification in the medium term, since the remuneration must be reconciled with the job profile of early childhood educators.

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