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How the Germans deal with Turks

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How the Germans deal with Turks

Postby tsukoui » Sat Apr 23, 2016 10:53 am

Hey folks,

So I'm going to keep things pretty broad in terms of detail and for those who want stats, I don't have any so you can safely ignore this thread. I really just want to relay information from a person I know who works in childcare in this country and was recently sent to Germany for research on how their system works. I'm basically dealing in anecdotes but there is some interesting information to be gathered none the less.

So to start with, the education system for a childcare worker in Germany is totally different. The level 6 qualification takes 4 years with a large amount of time on work placement, on partial wages. However there are some really serious differences in how they go about this education. In Ireland it is an education of the rules, a study of reports and research about children etc.. In Germany they have some creativity doctrine or some such and the education is entirely about how to behave with children to encourage creativity and learning and is very practical in that sense. It is required that you learn a musical instrument and in respect to one activity, my friend was told students will spend several days learning how they should engage with the child in regard to this activity. No form filling, no bureaucracy, it's all about the children.

For anyone who knows somebody in childcare, you will know that form filling is a significant part of the job. You fill in reports about development and record any falls or incidents. Lots and lots of forms to fill in. In Germany, childcare workers don't fill in forms. Management do.

So here's a few interesting stories from her visit:

1: Doors were unlocked, children were allowed move around the creche unaccompanied and in one case my friend recounted that a few children were in the "construction" room for over an hour without supervision.

2: One incident involved 2 children (about 4/5 years old) having left the building and crossed the street. The childcare work went out and called them back across the street.

3: 4 year olds were creating a rock music project, building a prop guitar from wood provided by a parent (parent involvement is much greater there than here) and these children were being coached in how to drill holes in teh wood with a real life electric drill. She also noted that at one point the drill was left down on a table but no children bothered with it. She was also told that the children helped cut out the guitar with a jigsaw! 4 year olds.

4: She witnessed care ratios of 19:1 and at one point 36:1 when two classes went outside and one of the childcare workers went for a cigarette.

5: A child came up to a childcare worker complaining that another boy had hit him. She said "Well I didn't hit you, so I think you should give out to him instead" - or something to that effect.

6: The children were overall remarkably well behaved in almost all situations.

7: She visited a forest creche and when she asked what measures they have to prevent children going missing, she was told "The rule for the kids is they must be able hear or see me and must tell us where they are going". This creche had no fence or wall, it was just in a forest. Apparently they haven't lost a child yet! (I'll elaborate further on this below)

Overall she was just totally shocked and often seen children falling over or jumping from dangerous heights. She never saw any of the childcare workers filling in paper work and they confirmed that it isn't their job. She's a manager of a creche and she talked to the manager and asked her about the budget but was told: "that's not her job". They simply get the money they need.

Childcare workers at level 6 receive about 4k a month gross as a starting wage (I don't know what increments they get there after). It is my theory that 3 factors allow for such high wages:

1: No form filling. This is a significant part of the job and my boys creche have to record every fall or incident, as well as prepare mini reports on his development and make observations about his play etc.. Basically they have to do a load of BS work which makes them less available to perform their primary duty. We pay for her to spend that time filling in forms and paperwork, it's on all our dime.

2: Ratios. No easy solution to this one and feeds into the next factor.

3: Behaviour. German children are far better behaved than Irish children. This facilitates the much higher ratios which allows less workers to do the same work, thus being able earn more. I wouldn't trust 12 year old Irish kids with a jigsaw or to not get lost in a forest!

So a couple of other areas that are worth looking at regarding the difference in culture. At the end of creche, the children go home on public buses, accompanied by a single staff member. The parents MUST meet them at the buss stop to collect their child. If they don't, another parent might look after the child until the parent arrives. If not that, then they stay on the bus and the parent must collect them at the last stop. My friend and I both agreed that such an arrangement in Ireland would result in all the children ending up at the last stop, being collected an hour late by their parents. In Germany they have a very different culture and their work must facilitate the schedule they need to meet for childcare duties.

Even more extraordinary was the commitment required for the forest creche. The forest creche had ZERO facilities. No electricity or wall or anything. It was a bunch of kids running around a forest. Each morning the parents must help carry water up the hill into the forest. Children had to poo in the ground. Dig a hole and poo in the ground. 2 days of the week the children would spend a full day in the forest and on these days parents must come at lunch with a hot meal for their child. My friend asked "How do you get them to do that?" and the answer was simply "That's what they agreed to when they sent their child here".

An extraordinary difference in the capacity of the system but I found the commitment of the parents most interesting because one of the reasons I think childcare should be 100% private is because if parents have to pay the real cost of looking after their children for 5 days of the week, they would quickly lower their expected standards of care to something they could actually afford and they would be more inclined to invest more fully in that childcare. Not necessary in Germany, but it's obvious that their culture is near diametrically opposed to ours and anything you give for free in this country tends to be viewed with little to no value on behalf of the recipient and demanding better quality is easy when you don't pay for it to begin with!

What I identified a something which must be an enormous factor in the difference of culture was our own litigation culture here. Childcare workers don't write short report about every incident because it benefits the children, they do it to cover themselves against litigation. That is obviously not a problem in Germany, perhaps relating to a far superior free healthcare system.

The one thing I did end up taking away from the quite extraordinary tales my friend told was that the next time I hear "this is best practise in..", I will cast a very suspicious eye over the claim because clearly something which works in Germany could be entirely catastrophic over here. If it works in Britain, then perhaps we can just copy and paste but I really don't think any form of social policy from the continent or Scandinavia etc.. can just be assumed to be a model we can adopt.

Anyways, just thought I would share for those who might have an interest.
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