The Ministry of Education regularly determines the figures for the use of emergency care. Accordingly, on January 14th of this year, 34,024 children were in the kindergarten emergency care. That is 36.03 percent. However, educator Jörg Vetter observes that there are more and more from day to day: “The next survey will show that the numbers are significantly higher. At the turn of the year, many parents were still on vacation.
Kathrin Vitzthum (GEW) also confirms this: “Average occupancy figures say nothing about the specific situation on site. In many kindergartens, 50 percent and more children are in so-called emergency care. This is basically a limited regular operation.”
Organization difficult in everyday life
The whole thing is made more difficult by the fact that the children are not allowed to be “mixed”, they stay in their groups. Then it can happen that two teachers look after three children in one group while there are ten children in another, but only an educator. “Basically she can’t even take a break because nobody is allowed to represent her,” says Jörg Vetter. Because because of illness and vacation (which may not be accumulated), the second teacher is missing in some groups.
Duty planning is also difficult. Because many parents decide from day to day whether to take advantage of the emergency care. And while in some communities there is talk about short-time work in kindergarten, in other places people use the free time to paint and try to stay in contact with the parents at least via video conference or e-mail.
No protection for educators
The biggest problem, however, is that the educators are basically completely defenseless. “You can’t keep your distance from kindergarten children. And facial expressions and gestures are particularly important with small children. How should that work with a mask?” Asks the director.
We also have older colleagues who are simply scared.
The sickness rate is correspondingly high. Kathrin Vitzthum from the GEW: “Families need support, without question. But we are not fighting the pandemic if we still have areas where there is no minimization of contact.”
The GEW sees it as a solution more children’s sick days so that parents no longer have to work on the side. “Because the solution cannot be to provide emergency care to virtually everyone.”