Monday morning at Many mothers stand in front of the door of the Johannes-Brenz-Haus family center in the middle of the city and discuss with a teacher. Some children are allowed in, others not. Like Hiafa Jonoo pulling her four-year-old Yussef home in hand with her little backpack on her back. “He does not understand what is going on.”
Children and parents must return home
Zarmina Qarizada is also dismissed. “But I’m registered,” she says, looking at her cell phone again and again. The email did not reach the kindergarten. Again she has to take her four-year-old Mohammad home, again she can not take a language course. This has been the case for two weeks, she says. A real problem for the woman: her teacher would not admit her to the exam on July 7 because she was absent so often. “But my visa depends on it,” she says with tears in her eyes.
“Sensible planning is almost impossible, as you usually get to know on Sunday afternoon or in the evening whether or under what conditions the kindergarten should take place.”
From the parents’ letter to Mayor Andreas Brand
The frustration is great. On May 18, the kindergarten’s parent council wrote a desperate letter to Mayor Andreas Brand. We are talking about daily insecurity, no regulated everyday life and changing caregivers. Instead of pedagogical work, educators would even have trouble guaranteeing the duty of supervision. “A normal process is rather the rarity. Reasonable planning is almost impossible, as you usually get to know on Sunday afternoon or in the evening whether or under what conditions the kindergarten should take place,” it says. Even working parents who are entitled to emergency care know not in the morning whether they find a vacancy.
The reason is lack of staff. According to the parents, four out of six teachers are usually absent due to illness. A specialist has just resigned. The housekeeper retires, so lunch is no longer served. “Children who have not been able to go to kindergarten for weeks continue to pay contributions for a lunch they have not eaten and for non-existent care,” the letter to the mayor reads. He ends with a request for help.
“The condition is unbearable.”
Andreas Köster, Mayor
Three days later, social mayor Andreas Köster answers – detailed and very empathetic. There is nothing to interpret: “The situation is not acceptable,” he writes. Although it does not help the parents, “the personnel responsibility rests solely with the respective carrier”. So the whole evangelical church community, which runs seven day care institutions in Friedrichshafen, is responsible for this. The city had “unmistakably” pointed out their obligations. And: “We will do everything we can to ensure that the situation improves.”
Half of the parents no longer have a daycare place
But the situation is getting worse. From now on, the kindergarten is only open from 8.00 to 12.00, three hours less than originally agreed. On Fridays it stays completely closed. And: In the future, there will be only one group. This means that half of the parents, ie about 20 families, have no daycare place at all, no more childcare. Each family received this in writing Monday night – hop or top. From June at least the childcare fees will drop to a maximum of 60 euros per month for parents who are allowed to take their child on. The rest stand alone with their needs.
“We understand and share the parents’ concerns and are also in intensive conversations with the daycare,” City Hall said upon request. The carrier has to take care of the staff, just as the city does in its nine day care institutions. In addition, the city spends around three million euros extra each year on supporting the carriers, especially in terms of staff, eg for the sickness relief pool, language support, time off for educational housework, household staff, extra management freedom, assuming the cost of FSJ positions, remuneration of internships and more.
“I understand very well that many parents are worried.”
Reimar Clauss, Codekan
Reimar Crauß, the new code dean of the castle’s church community, is now in charge of day care in the Protestant church community, but has not been on duty for two weeks yet. “I understand very well that many parents are worried,” he explains when asked by our newspaper. He can not do much at the moment. The crew is too short. Since the church community must also “fit in” with educators in the service of the Protestant regional church, the search for specialists is even more difficult. Issues such as the inclusion or integration of refugee children are of particular concern to him. He is aware that precisely these families are now falling through. “Lord, believe me, I suffer like a dog.” He will try to find a solution, at least in case of social difficulties.
Extra offers for preschool children
Anna Wolf is lucky. The parent representative’s son is a preschooler and will be allowed to continue. At least for these children, the carrier has now launched an additional program. So far, there has not been much preparation for the school. From 20 June, there will be offers three times a week for an hour and a half with a view to starting school. And every Friday a “campaign morning”, however, in the day care institution Noadja on Goethestrasse.
It will be the new home for the children from Brenzhuset, which closes completely at the end of August. The parents had high hopes that the two groups would be able to move now. There is no emergency service on Goethestraße. But the day care center is not designed for another 40 children. In January 2019, the municipal council decided to temporarily expand Noadja day care center with an extension to two groups to create more day care center places for the city center “quickly and promptly”. But the plans stalled. This will now be settled at short notice, the town hall explains at the request. A company has already been hired. It is still unknown whether the cultivation will be completed by the end of August.