Kindergarten teachers? They don’t do anything but tinker, sing and maybe settle a little argument, some might think. Far from it: the concept of kindergarten as an education-free space has long been outdated. Last but not least, the Pisa study has shown how important high-quality childcare is already in preschool age.
Since many children spend a large part of the day in daycare centers and kindergartens, the educators are expected to support the tots appropriately. Not an easy task, especially when you consider that many children have a migration background or come from precarious social backgrounds. Due to the increased demands placed on educators, some universities have now introduced courses that illuminate the topic of early childhood education from a scientific perspective .
Degree programs in the field of early childhood education
The courses offered are called, for example, “Education and Upbringing in Childhood”, “Pedagogy in Early Childhood” or “Elementary Education”. The course content is as different as the names. Some universities focus exclusively on educational work with the children themselves. Other study programs also have business management content . These are students for management tasks to prepare from day care centers and kindergartens. Some of the courses offered are designed to be part-time and are aimed at educators with professional experience who want to qualify for management positions.
According to microedu, most bachelor’s degree programs combine content from the educator training with academic knowledge from the subjects
- Sociology .
Among other things, the students learn:
- What didactic concepts you can use to impart knowledge to children
- what problems children with a migrant background can have
- how poverty affects child development
If the teaching of management skills is also part of the course, content such as quality management or organizational development are also on the curriculum. Practical semesters and internships in institutions for children and families give students the opportunity to put what they have learned into practice.
With a bachelor’s degree in their pocket, students can start their careers straight away. Your career chances are already significantly better than those of educators who have only completed an apprenticeship.
Anyone who would like to gain further qualifications directly after completing their studies or a few years of professional experience can add a master’s degree . The master’s courses offer the opportunity to specialize in individual work areas and to qualify for management positions. Study programs such as “Childhood Research”, “Counseling and Education” or “Inclusive Pedagogy and Elementary Education” are offered.
Study opportunities and requirements
Universities as well as technical colleges and professional academies offer courses in the field of early childhood education. Almost all universities require practical experience for admission to the course . Depending on the university, this can be both a completed training course and a pre-study internship lasting several weeks.
As the number of interested parties exceeds the number of places offered clear, others are internal competitions and admission restrictions the rule at many universities. Good school grades in subjects such as pedagogy and social sciences are an advantage for the degree. Interested parties should also be able to use the German language confidently, since language training is also one of the later tasks.
After studying in the field of early childhood education, most of the graduates first work as educators in kindergartens, daycare centers and after-school care centers . In contrast to educators who have completed an apprenticeship, they are also able to work in other areas. For example, they can look after children in schools or work in family centers and youth welfare offices , where, for example, they advise parents on questions of upbringing and support.
It is also possible to work in adult education . Master graduates also have the option of an academic career pursue, and at the University doctorate and doing research. Those who want to go abroad have the opportunity to work for international child protection and children’s rights organizations or in other development cooperation institutions.
Reasons for studying early childhood education abroad
If you want to broaden your horizons during your studies, you should consider studying abroad. One or more semesters abroad offer the opportunity to get to know other forms of early childhood education . The students do not only undergo further professional development , they also acquire important intercultural skills that will also benefit them in their later work. For example, they learn to communicate across cultural differences and acquire soft skills such as organizational skills and flexibility. In addition, the students have the opportunity to improve their foreign language skills and to make contacts all over the world.