The specialist-child-key – big differences between the federal states – all around day care

The personnel key in daycare centers, also called specialist-child keys, is a central quality characteristic of early childhood education, care and upbringing. It describes the number of children looked after in relation to a specialist, i.e. a person with adequate pedagogical training and qualifications. The indicator is discussed a lot. Not without reason, because a good specialist-child key enables the specialist to establish a good relationship with each individual child, which in turn has a positive effect on their development. The bottom is important > (the terms are explained here) .

Good specialist-child ratio ensures quality

There is now scientifically proven evidence that pedagogical quality can be impaired if a certain specialist-child relationship is not achieved. For children before their first birthday, one person should not take care of more than two infants. For children up to the age of three, a ratio of one specialist for three to a maximum of four children is desirable. From the age of three it can be assumed that a specialist should not be responsible for more than nine children at the same time. The current personnel situation in the federal states often does not yet reach these relations, although improvements have been continuously worked on here in recent years. The Bertelsmann Stiftung publishes the Country monitor for early childhood education systems, which maps the situation in the federal states.

What is behind these – necessary – "number games"? How can these be attached to concrete things in day-to-day nursery life??

Interested parties can read here what the personnel key means for children, parents and specialists .

How is the specialist-child key calculated??

The specialist child key is examined by the Bertelsmann Foundation in five different groups: "Crèche groups", "Kindergarten groups open to two-year-olds", "Cross-age, groups with children under four years", "Cross-age, children from zero years to school" and "Kindergarten, children from three years to school entry".

Big differences between the federal states

The current country monitor from August 2017 still shows significant differences between the federal states in terms of staffing levels. In the crèche groups, the states of Baden-Württemberg and Bremen have 1: 3.0 and 1: 3.1, respectively best Staffing. This result is contrasted by a specialist-child key of 1: 6.1 in Brandenburg and 1: 6.5 in Saxony. If you convert these numbers, it becomes clear that a specialist in Brandenburg or Saxony looks after twice as many children as in Bremen or Baden-Württemberg.

The difference between the new and old federal states remains in the other age groups. In the group of over three year olds have children also Bremen and Baden-Württemberg the cheapest key (1: 7.5 and 1: 7.2). In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania the picture is different: Here there are even 13.7 children per skilled worker. In western Germany, the personnel key at this age is on average 1: 8.5. In Eastern Germany the average is significantly higher: 1: 12.2.

The Bertelsmann Stiftung has provided the key figures for the individual federal states here.

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… is the editor of the parent portal and employee in the program communication of "Quality on site" of the German Children and Youth Foundation.

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Christina Cherry
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