Educators look after children, young people and people with disabilities, prepare games and leisure activities and promote their linguistic, motor, social and personal development.
How do I become an educator?
Your desire to be a teacher certainly doesn’t come by chance. As a prospective educator, you would be attributed the following qualities, interests and prerequisites, which are important for the profession:
- Pleasure in dealing with children/young people (possibly with disabilities)
- sociability and communication skills (in dealing with colleagues, parents, offices, schools)
- sense of responsibility
- design and craft skills
- Fantasy and good >In addition, an intermediate secondary school leaving certificate, i.e. the Mittlere Reife or a comparable degree, is generally a prerequisite for training as an educator.
Recommended school leaving certificate
Realschulabschluss / secondary school leaving certificate
duration of training
What does an educator do?
Your tasks as an educator at a glance
- Promoting children, young people and people with disabilities
- Planning and organisation of everyday life in kindergartens, youth centres and supervised facilities
- Care and entertainment of children through games, activities or excursions
- Observing and analysing behaviour to enable a good upbringing
Your tasks as an educator in detail
You love to deal with children, teenagers and people with disabilities, you always have an open ear and you can inspire yourself to play, make music and do handicrafts? All this makes you an educator. In addition to the playful activities, you are responsible for the organisation and planning of activities, the procurement of materials and it is also your job to observe and document the behaviour of the children or young people in order to make a good upbringing possible. This also includes children, adolescents and young adults with disabilities, because inclusion – the right of every person to participate in social life – is a fixed principle in Germany. Of course, you don’t do all this on your own, but are in constant contact with your team, parents and, if necessary, the youth welfare office or schools. As you have already noticed, the profession is very varied.
Everyday work in the kindergarten
In the morning
It’s 7:00. You have an early shift today and are expecting the first children of your group. Ah – there comes Mia at her daddy’s hand. Her tiredness passed quickly when you tell her that you can really get dirty today with finger paint, because that is also part of the profession of the educator. It’s only half as difficult to say goodbye to Daddy on your hand and the next children are already coming. While they begin to play, you meet with your colleagues and discuss the day. Do you have all the materials you need for the finger paint action? In the chair circle you greet the children and practice a small canon with them. That’s already working quite well. But why doesn’t Lukas want to join in? In a quiet minute, you sit down with him and ask if something is bothering him today. Your colleagues are now outside with a few children.
You have breakfast break – but not alone. You spend part of your meal break with the children. “Beep beep beep, we all love each other and wish you a good appetite”. Most children can eat their sandwiches on their own, but because you also have individual children with disabilities in your group, you will of course help them if they cannot get on alone.
Just as you are looking for your finger paints and want to drum up the children, Juliane comes crying towards you because Jonas has pushed her. No problem – that’s quickly solved! In no time at all, they got along again and even sit next to each other while expressing their creativity with finger paints. The children are picked up throughout the afternoon. Of course, you are always there, answering questions from the parents and telling them about the latest developments of their protégés. Afterwards, you and your colleagues will clear the group rooms and take stock of the day.
Everyday work in the youth centre
It is still quiet and empty when you make the final preparations. Drinks will be provided, chairs will be adjusted and there will be a team meeting before the first children and teenagers arrive. In the morning you already made some phone calls with parents, schools and the youth welfare office.
In the course of the afternoon the room fills with life. While your colleagues are already playing a round of billiards with the teenagers, you are in charge of homework supervision for the primary school pupils in a separate room. Afterwards everyone meets in the big room. You and your team have prepared a workshop on self-defense. The teenagers get some important tips and tricks from an invited martial artist. In the meantime you will light the campfire for the following baking of stick bread.
Work in institutions for people with disabilities
No matter in which kind of institution you work as an educator, whether day-care centre or youth centre, working with children and young people with disabilities is part of your everyday work. However, you also have the opportunity to consciously concentrate on working with and educating people with disabilities and to work in a part-time or full-time facility for people with disabilities.
There you will work with children, adolescents and (young) adults who suffer from autism, attention or hyperactivity disorders, attachment disorders, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, speech impairments or other emotional, social or physical disorders. When working with disabled people, you have to do more than just put yourself in their shoes. It is important that you bring tolerance with you and view children, adolescents and adults as fully-fledged people who only have special needs. As an educator, you respond to the individual needs of each of your protégés, observe their psychological and physical development, among other things, and consider how you can best support each of them. You always have the goal in mind to open up a life perspective for people through your care and individual support and to enable them to participate in social life.