Good things can become even better – including our kindergarten. Shortly before Christmas, the Thuringia state parliament approved the 2024 budget, a compromise between the red-red-green and the CDU. An agreement with the conservatives was necessary because the left, the SPD and the Greens no longer have a majority since 2019. One of the consequences: our plan to further develop the kindergarten law was blocked by the CDU. A third year without contributions, improving the relationship between qualified employees and children, a pre-school education institute – none of this is possible at the moment.
Ulrike Grose-Rätig is a lawyer and co-chairman of the Thuringian Left Party.
We learn throughout our lives, but the early years are especially influential. Thuringia has more than 1,340 kindergartens and the highest level of childcare in the country. No other federal state has better trained personnel. These are conditions that many dream of. But we are also increasingly short of skilled workers. Therefore, a more competent staff will be a success factor. Better wages and better working conditions are the keys to success. Educator recruitment success is also being achieved through our national government's plans for practice-based training and grants to childcare providers for annual trainees.
The federal government's Good Childcare Act has opened up a national perspective on the multidimensional nature of the concept of quality. Our national government used funds to improve not only the best level of childcare, but also non-contribution and multi-professionalism. Quality is not limited to the number of qualified employees: what requirements must institutions meet? What should their build quality be? Part design can also help meet changing needs.
The decline in the number of skilled workers is a demographic reality. Therefore, it is necessary to find ways in which structural problems or the organization of facilities can improve conditions. When we talk about the influence of spaces here in Thuringia, it is also a lesson from the emergence of the Bauhaus that accompanied the world in change 100 years ago – we can build on that. More than ever, we need research at the interface between science and practice on conditions, training and educational support in kindergartens. It costs money, as do better wages, further quality improvements, extra time off for management tasks, help with food costs and strengthening municipal kitchens. Better kindergartens are also linked to issues of fair financial and tax policy.
Kindergartens are not social institutions that allow poor parents to go to work. In Thuringia, kindergartens are traditionally an integral part of the educational landscape. They should ensure the best future we can offer children. It is also a humanistic attitude towards these little people. Our goals are complete freedom from investment, better quality of service providers, concepts and buildings, more exemptions for management and better ratio of care. These are our tasks so that all children in the land of opportunity in Thuringia have the same chance to start.
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