In the past, children could play, romp and learn to their hearts’ content in the daycare center. That’s no longer the case in Corona times. “An incredible amount has broken away,” says Lisa Labisch, head of the “Kleiner Globus” children’s home in Würzburg. The excursions, for example, on which the little ones used to experience and learn a lot, were canceled during the pandemic.
“Now we have children who have been with us for two years and have never seen a teacher’s face because it is hidden behind a mask all day.”
It is not easy to reconcile the state’s corona prevention policy with the educational goals of educators. The daycare lines are also torn when it comes to protective measures. “It’s crazy that the children don’t know our faces,” says Lisa Labisch. But there are no exceptions in their institution, which is supported by workers’ welfare. The educators must always wear FFP2 masks, even outdoors. Labisch can accept that.
The test strategies are problematic for day-care centers
The ordered tests are more problematic for them: “In our experience, the test results are incredibly often wrong.” Parents have to show the results of the self-test three times a week when the children want to enter the daycare center. However, new rules could apply tomorrow. That puts a lot of stress on daycare management. Labisch complains:
“There are constantly long, often not very understandable texts coming in about what is now valid again.”
The social worker is very worried about the shortage of skilled workers, which is becoming increasingly noticeable. “Who should take care of the children in the future?” Asks Labisch along with many other daycare managers. Because they have a problem: the workforce is extremely thin. And to find new staff, very difficult. “Everyone is scrambling for skilled workers,” confirms Carola Lemke, director of the protestant daycare center “Arche” in Berlin. Your sponsoring association is now increasingly working with career changers.
The tense staff situation is becoming a problem for daycare centers
But “the bureaucratic effort is high”. And not all career changers stay with the pole. According to Lemke, this also applies to young professionals. Because the staff situation is tense, the young employees often feel overwhelmed, Lemke observes. The consequence: “Young colleagues flee from the day care center.”
The stress increases even for experienced educators. And there is great frustration, as Lemke reports:
“Our entire team has been boosted, but we have now had five corona cases with symptoms, some of them directly after the booster.”
Unvaccinated employees put a strain on the working atmosphere
Nevertheless, many institutions continue to consistently rely on vaccination. “My biggest problem is the non-vaccinated employees,” says pastor Heike Kuhn, who is responsible for a daycare center in Tauberbischofsheim in Baden-Württemberg. Almost a quarter of the 25-strong daycare team is not vaccinated. “I’m really concerned about how to deal with it in such a way that the working atmosphere doesn’t suffer.”
“The Omicron wave and the associated staff shortages mean that parents have to worry about the reliability of their childcare,” says Stefan Spieker, managing director of Froebel Education and Education GmbH in Berlin.
“Parents have had to constantly expect childcare to be canceled for two years now.”
The consequences for parents and children are drastic
Christiane Münderlein from the Evangelical Kita Association in Bavaria reports the dramatic consequences for working parents who had to spontaneously stay at home because of this: “The parents were given notice after they couldn’t come to work.” Johannes Scheib from the district youth welfare office in Southwest Palatinate says that 15 to 20 percent of the staff are constantly missing in the 71 day-care centers in the district due to quarantine and cases of illness.
“This means that opening hours are reduced or that there is a freeze on admissions.”
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