Childcare options are becoming increasingly scarce

There are currently 15 facilities in Weingarten offering a total of 912 childcare places. The city can still accommodate all the children – despite the Ukrainian refugees who have moved there. But as head of department Rainer Beck predicts, “there is a very, very great need for the municipalities, and the number of educators that we can tap into is almost zero.”

Only a few emergency places left

According to the city of Weingarten, parents are sending their children to day care earlier and earlier because they want or need to return to work sooner. The proportion of these parents is increasing, hence the pressure of need. Currently, 35 percent of parents would take their child to a daycare center before they turn three. From the age of three, a child in Baden-Württemberg has in any case a legal right to a place in a day care center until they start school.

There is little air left in the system and only a few spare seats intended for emergencies. We must hope for the fluctuation,

explains Beck.

There is also the challenge of having to accommodate the Ukrainian children who have fled. It has worked so far, says Doris Konya, head of the family and social department. As for the 30 to 40 children in 14 Nothelfer, the system will not be charged for the time being. As this is an emergency home for the district, the stay is only temporary, which is why the children are not allocated to daycare centers.

These are the most sought-after daycare centers

“In this way, we want to avoid children with no prospect of staying first being settled in a local preschool and then having to leave it again after a few weeks due to relocation,” the city said in the request. Such a change would be stressful for the children and would cause pedagogical and organizational challenges for the kindergartens. Therefore, the extra care offered by Caritas is in 14 Nothelfer, for which donations are currently being acquired.

Around 700 parents were and are being written to by the city this autumn. There is an online registration procedure for them if they want to place their child in a care centre.

Konya:

For the year 2022/23, we can offer all parents a place for their child. If you have a specific day care center in mind that is currently full, we will put you on a waiting list.

Day care centers near new development areas are particularly popular because many young families settle there, for example St. Lioba Kindergarten on Weinbergstraße or Corbellini Kindergarten on the street of the same name. The orphanage “Bullerbü” and the orphanage “Wirbelwind” are very popular among nurseries.

More citizens through Martinshöfe and 14 emergency workers

In the future, the situation will become even more tense for various reasons. The fact that the school registration deadline in Baden-Württemberg was successively advanced by three months means 2.5 more kindergarten groups for Weingarten. Beck expects a jump as soon as Martinshöfe is finished, where around 1000 people will move in – this will give at least two extra kindergarten groups. Families will also move to Area 14 Nothelfer in the near future.

Another point is the number of births. According to Rainer Beck, these have been slightly decreasing since 2018, but a slight upward trend can be seen in the coming years.

Parents from Baienfurt want to stop the teacher shortage plus

According to Beck, the city was “constantly upgraded” with additional groups. The big caliber would come with the new construction of Xaverius Kindergarten in 2023/24, which will go into operation with two more groups. A kindergarten is also being built in the area of ​​14 Nothelfer, the completion of which is planned for 2026/2027. The city is currently starting to plan a new building with an extension to the Eduard Mörike Kindergarten, which will add three more groups. “This is our long-term goal for the period after 2029,” says Rainer Beck.

One million euro costs per daycare group

Thanks to all these measures, the city assumes that in the future it will be able to accommodate all children, even if funds are scarce. The subsidy from the state and the parental contributions would not begin to cover the city’s expenses. Beck: “It is a permanent burden on the city’s budget, which continues to rise. We demand more help from the state.” After all, the government also ensured the parents’ legal rights to a daycare place. The costs per new kindergarten group would be about one million euros, the operation of a regular full-day group would amount to about 240,000 euros.

More children per  educator: Land wants to lower standards

More children per educator: Land wants to lower standards

Another problem is the lack of staff. “Some operators had to reduce the opening hours of day care centers for a short time due to staff shortages,” says Doris Konya. Strategies are constantly considered for staff recruitment. Facilities that do not offer full-day care are attractive because they do not have the unpopular shift work.

But the lack of educators cannot be solved at municipal level, according to Beck. It is a political task to make the profession more attractive. The course must now urgently be added here.

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