How can I work in a day care center

Why more career changers?

Career changers can enrich the educational work in daycare centers

In recent years, the importance of multi-professional teams for the quality of educational work in day-care centers has been increasingly emphasized in the specialist discussion (cf. i.a. BMFSFJ 2014). Multi-professional teams are not only understood to be teams in which (socially) educational professionals with different technical and university training work. In an expanded understanding, multi-professional teams are also characterized by the fact that they integrate career changers who (can) bring their own specific skills that they have acquired in their previous professional life into the educational work. “This is intended to contribute specifically to enriching the skills of the daycare team and to broaden the children's horizons through diverse educational offers (cf. BMFSFJ 2014, p. 26).

BMFSFJ (2014): Discussion paper on the retention of educational staff in day-care centers. Submitted by the working group on recruiting skilled workers for day care. Berlin, see:,property=pdf,bereich=bmfsfj,sprache=de,rwb=true.pdf

This argument is also supported by the competence model developed by Fröhlich-Gildhoff, Nentwig-Gesemann and Pietsch. The competence model shows, among other things, that the personal attitude that the pedagogical specialist acquires in the course of their private and working life has a strong influence on concrete action in an educational situation (performance) (cf.Frohlich-Gildhoff, Nentwig-Gesemann and Pietsch 2011 ). This makes it clear that the specific skills that educators need for their work are (must) not only be acquired during training. The development of competencies begins earlier "and is a lifelong process to which not only training and professional practice, but also the individual biography contribute." (Gartinger / Janssen 2014). The more different the life and professional biographies of educators are, the more diverse skills can be “gathered” in a daycare team and used profitably for educational work.

WiFF expertise from Fröhlich-Gildhoff, Klaus; Nentwig-Gesemann, Iris and Pietsch, Stefanie (2011):

Career changers make a very conscious decision in favor of educator training and are motivated to pursue the profession

Kita managers and pedagogical specialists are partly in favor of employing lateral entrants because they assume that lateral entrants are motivated, inquisitive and interested employees. A practice mentor in the federal program "Lernort Praxis" expresses this as follows:
"Some of them are 40 or older, but they come with a different vigor, with a different passion, partly because they know, okay, it's about something again. (...). They want to be educators with body and soul. When When you are 40 you think about going into this job again, then you’re going to be different. "

Career changers form an important potential for skilled workers

Another reasoning that is repeatedly expressed in the context of the debate about lateral entry into the educator profession is that against the background of the increasing shortage of skilled workers in various regions of Germany, lateral entrants must increasingly be won over to the educator profession ( see, inter alia, BMFSFJ 2014).

There are relatively many men among the lateral entrants

Since there are relatively many men among those interested in lateral entry, so another argument, measures aimed at facilitating lateral entry opportunities in the educator profession also led to an increase in the proportion of male skilled workers. Detlef Diskowski expresses this as follows:
"If, for example, one wants to increase the proportion of men in the skilled workforce, then it does not seem very promising to hope that 16 to 18-year-old men will choose their careers. Occupations that are completely uncool at this age [for most young men (dA)] , but after 10 years of professional experience in a locksmith's workshop, they may develop a high level of attractiveness; especially if they have experience with their own children ". (Diskowski 2013).

There are also challenges associated with employing lateral entrants

The reasons given show that lateral entrants are (can) perceived by those responsible from politics and practice as an enrichment. Nonetheless, it must also be pointed out that employing lateral entrants can also be associated with challenges for daycare teams and lateral entrants. In some federal states, for example, lateral entrants who complete a day-care training course and already work in a day-care center during their training are counted towards the personnel key. The lateral entrants are still at the beginning of their training and must be instructed accordingly, for which there is usually no time in daycare centers due to the generally poor staffing code. In other federal states, however, lateral entrants are not counted towards the personnel key. However, these lateral entrants are usually only paid a very low salary, from which they cannot earn a living (see, inter alia, Cremers / Krabel 2014, p.16).

The working group for skilled workers of the BMFSFJ also points out that employing skilled workers with different (professional) educational qualifications and qualification levels does not automatically mean that multi-professional teams (can) use their extended skills profitably. In order for multi-professional teams to be able to contribute their skills professionally, “the professional design of resource-oriented team and personnel development within the framework of an established quality management system is required (cf. BMFSFJ 2014, p. 27).

The lateral entry is not made easy for those interested

In addition, it should be noted that changing jobs is not made easy for interested men and women. The re-qualification takes a long time, is not remunerated and state funding often does not take effect. Many people interested in a lateral entry also do not dare to take out a loan, because repayment is not easy given the part-time employment or fixed-term contracts, which are not unusual for the educator profession. For this reason, in various federal states more and more day-care-accompanying training courses have emerged, in which technical school students work in day-care centers and are paid from the beginning of their training. This should make it easier for people interested in lateral entry to enter the educator training.

The aim of the (further) development of day-care-accompanying training courses is also pursued by the new ESF model program "Cross-entry - men and women in day-care centers", within the framework of which several model projects will develop innovative teacher training courses from June 2015.


BMFSFJ (2014): Discussion paper on the retention of educational staff in day-care centers. Submitted by the working group on recruiting skilled workers for day care. Berlin, see:,property=pdf,bereich=bmfsfj,sprache=de,rwb=true.pdf

Cremers, Michael; Krabel, Jens (2014): Heterogeneous Teams: Taking stock of opportunities, team dynamics and possible lines of conflict. In: Coordination office “Men in daycare centers: gender-sensitive pedagogical work in day-care centers. Handout for practice. Berlin,

Diskowski, Detlef (2013): Skilled Workers Shortage and Qualification Issues. The shortage of staff in day care as an opportunity to pose the question of qualifications more radically, see:

Fröhlich-Gildhoff, Klaus; Nentwig-Gesemann, Iris & Pietsch, Stefanie (2011): Competence orientation in the qualification of early childhood education professionals. Munich: WiFF / DJI.