In , the participation rates for under-threes in federal states in the east of Germany were still higher than in the west of Germany - Public providers are bodies of state administration e. Private for-profit organisations only account for a minority of private providers of early childhood education and care. The youth welfare offices have supervisory responsibility for assigned early childhood education and care providers within their administrative area see Section 69 SGB VIII.
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Private for-profit and non-profit providers are generally church, welfare, and youth organisations. Particularly in Western Germany, parents' initiatives or associations also operate as private providers. It determines the relationship between public and private providers. The majority of early childhood education and care services are managed by private providers. Public providers have the overall responsibility - including planning responsibility — for early childhood services and have to make sure that these services fulfill their tasks.
They are also responsible for the provision of early childhood services in line with demand. Private providers are responsible for the provision respectively the implementation of their own early childhood services, as well as for their staffs' performance. In addition to the principle of subsidiarity, the early childhood and care system in Germany is also governed by the principle of diversity of child and youth welfare services and providers.
The universally binding mandate in the German early childhood education and care system. The German legislation states universally binding objectives for public early childhood education and care services. Under the Child and Youth Welfare Services Act, centre-based early childhood education and care and family day care services are to:.
Early childhood services support children in all areas of their development. However, these services not only enable children to enhance their cognitive and non-cognitive skills, they also enable parents to improve their work-life balance see Section 22 subsection 3 SGB VIII. Early education in centre-based settings and family day care is characterised by a holistic approach and reflected in the deeply intertwined concepts education, care and upbringing. This holistic approach is shaped by the traditions of early childhood educational research and practice.
The concept of 'upbringing' means all pedagogical activities and behavioral patterns of adults in their responsible interaction with children. In international comparison, the concepts 'education, care and upbringing' mark a key feature and strength of the mandate implemented by early childhood services in Germany. The government of the Federal Republic of Germany sets a statutory framework that includes binding objectives and principles. Thus, all 16 federal states have specific laws and regulations, which legally regulate early childhood education and care services in the respective federal states e.
These laws define the tasks and goals of early childhood education and care services, for example, how many places are required, whether new early childhood services need to be established, what material resources should be available and how the services should be organised. Regulations concerning staff-child ratios or room dimensions can differ widely between the federal states. An overview of early childhood education and care laws in the 16 federal states can be found at the Eduserver Deutschen Bildungsserver. The municipalities are responsible for planning and implementing early childhood education and care services at local level.
They are also responsible for a large part of the funding of these services. The above described division of responsibilities for early childhood education and care services is based on the idea of decentralised management, thereby strengthening the responsibility and independence of smaller state units or individuals and avoiding state paternalism. Both laws grant children from one year onwards the legal right to attend an early childhood education and care centre or a family day care service.
Against the background of the ongoing quantitative expansion of ECEC services in Germany questions regarding the assurance and development of structural as well as pedagogical quality of those services gained more and more importance. Since the s various stakeholders in research and politics deal with this issue. Within five subprojects quality criteria national criteria catalogue and evaluation procedures have been compiled and tested in practice.
Those instruments and procedures, which have been constantly revised and modified, are used widely within Germany. The diversity of pedagogical concepts of ECEC settings and providers resulted in an incalculable variety of instruments and procedures of quality development and assurance. All in all, the perspective on pedagogical work in ECEC settings as well as on quality governance in the whole ECEC sector has changed considerably during the last years. In spite of the different efforts various studies, e. In addition, substantial regional differences can be empirically observed, mainly regarding structural quality.
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