"Chancen - gleich!" - Equal Opportunities!
Education in Early Childhood

"Chancen - gleich!" - Equal Opportunities!

Cultural Diversity as a Resource in Early Childhood Educational Processes – A Training Program for Educational Professionals

In Germany, one in three children under six years of age has a foreign background. These children are still affected by limited educational opportunities and special developmental risks, however. And this is especially true when different risk factors converge – particularly a lack of socioeconomic resources.

The foundation for a successful educational career is laid in the first years of life. Day care centers and preschools should support all children in their own personal development. The children should be encouraged to develop their potential unimpededly and cultivate a positive self-image.

In order to support day care centers on their path to becoming institutions that are culturally sensitive and support children’s development, particularly for families with foreign backgrounds, Robert Bosch Stiftung has launched the "Equal Opportunities!" training program. It supports educational professionals at preschools and day care centers in using the resources and strengths that children and families bring to the table from their own cultures, languages, and living environments for educational processes.

During a period of two years, 28 day care centers participated in team training and consultations on real-world situations by key communicators specially trained for this program. These training sessions were completed in 2013 and have since been evaluated. Now the goal is to establish a nationwide network of key communicators who pass on the content and methods created in the "Equal Opportunities!" program to further day care centers. To accomplish this, three "Train the Trainer" sessions as well as seminars for specialist consultations are being offered at a variety of locations. Publication of the curriculum and the materials is planned.

In this context, the Robert Bosch Stiftung is working with the Zentrum für Kinder- und Jugendforschung (center for child and youth research), which is part of the Forschungs- und Innovationsverbund an der Evangelischen Hochschule Freiburg (research and innovation alliance at the Freiburg Protestant University of Applied Sciences). The center developed the curriculum and materials and was responsible for scientifically monitoring the program.