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

"Chancen - gleich!" - Equal Opportunities!

Cultural diversity as a resource in early-childhood educational processes – a qualification program for educational professionals of the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Zentrum für Kinder- und Jugendforschung at the Protestant University of Applied Sciences Freiburg.

In Germany, one in three children under six years of age has a foreign background. These children are still significantly affected by limited educational opportunities, developmental risks, and poverty, however. In order to achieve equal developmental opportunities for all children and to take the heterogeneous nature of the children and their families – and the requirements associated with them – into account, educational practices need more appropriate qualifications.

The Robert Bosch Stiftung and the Zentrum für Kinder- und Jugendforschung have launched the qualification program Equal Opportunities!, which has the objective of supporting educational professionals who work in preschools in making use of the resources and strengths that the children and their families bring with them from their cultures, languages, and environments for educational processes.

The Equal Opportunities! curriculum is a modular qualification program where professionals examine theoretical concepts, their attitudes, their tasks, and the institution’s culture, as well as develop didactic and methodological approaches for supporting individual development in heterogeneous groups. Additional qualifications for educators go hand in hand with a process of organizational development – with the goal being the creation of an institution that is aware of prejudices, culturally sensitive, and designed to support the development of children and families with foreign backgrounds.

During a pilot phase that spanned a period of two years, 28 preschools participated in team training and consultations on real-world situations led by key communicators specially trained for this project. These training sessions were completed in 2013 and have since been evaluated. The project has been developed further in order to incorporate the methods and materials created during the pilot phase into the training and continued qualification of educators, as well as to make the supporting organizations and expert consultants aware of the relevance of the topics.

In May 2016, the Equal Opportunities! location at the Zentrum für Kinder- und Jugendforschung in Freiburg was founded, with the goal being the creation of a nationwide network of multipliers in Germany who then pass on the content and methods of Equal Opportunities! to preschools. Additionally, the location advises and qualifies individuals and institutions and is also currently working on the development of a website for the presentation of the materials.