Early childhood education. Participation in day care centres

Term Paper, 2014

13 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of contents


1 Theoretical overview
1.1 Definition of participation
1.2 Legal regulations
1.3 Relevance of participation for children

2 Requirements for successful participation
2.1 View of man and basic approach
2.2 dialogue

3 Examples and methods of participation in day care centres for children
3.1 Participation in decision-making in everyday life
3.2 Children's Council/Children's Conference
3.3 Project
3.4 Other methods

4 Summary and outlook
4.1 limits
4.2 summary
4.3 prospect



In recent years, participation has become an increasingly relevant topic in politics and the media. In social institutions, there is more and more discussion about how addressees can be more involved in the processes and how participation can be implemented in practice.

In the field of early childhood education, too, children should be able to actively shape their environment and have a say in relevant decisions that affect their everyday lives. In this context, it is often discussed to what extent children are already competent enough to be able to actively participate or how much room for participation can be designed. Don't they lack the experience and foresight of adults? What can participation in day-care centres look like and where are the limits?

These questions are to be discussed and answered in the present term paper. First, the term 'participation' will be briefly defined and legal foundations will be described. Furthermore, the importance of participation for children will be explained.

In the next chapter, the human image, the basic attitude and dialogical skills of the specialists in day-care centers are to be described as prerequisites for successful participation. The main part of the work is taken up by methods and examples of participation in day-care centres for children. In the summary and in the outlook, the limits of participation are discussed.

The work is very practice-oriented and is intended to shed light on how participation can be implemented exemplarily using the example of the day care center for children.

The aim of the work is to provide an overview of the possibilities of participation in day-care centres and to explain why participation is so relevant for children. The work relates exclusively to the Federal Republic of Germany and the current cultural and legal conditions.

1 Theoretical overview

1.1 Definition of participation

Participation is a common term in German usage and means participation in something. "The term participation has its origin in the Latin "participare" and literally means participation and participation. In common parlance, it is also used more or less synonymously with participation, co-determination and participation" (Pluto, 2007, p. 16). For a long time, participation was only related to participation at the political level, but over time it expanded to other areas. However, the basic idea of democracy and the upbringing and education to democracy continue to be relevant components of participation. "Democracy implies participation" (Pluto, 2007, p. 26).

Participation does not just mean participating in a process and being informed about the individual steps. "Participation means more: namely to participate, to shape, to be able to have a say" (Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 19). The focus is on the decisions that affect one's own life and that are made independently, but also on participation in social life through co-determination possibilities. "The focus in the following is on the concept of social participation, by which the participation of individual children or groups of children in decisions that affect their own lives predominantly in the everyday life of the KiTa can be understood" (Dobrick, 2011, p. 18). The aim of participation is to educate the children to maturity, but also to enable them to make decisions and self-determination.

Kriener and Petersen developed a step-by-step model of participation1, "which is from non-participation to quasi-participation (...) ultimately lead to participation (delegation of decisions/partnership negotiations)" (Bröckling/Schmid, 2012, p. 44). Participation in day-care centres varies widely and can also be measured at these levels.

1.2 Legal regulations

Article 1 of the Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany assures people of inviolable human dignity (cf. Art 1, GG). Another article describes the right to the free development of his personality (cf. Art. 2, GG). These laws apply to every person in Germany and thus also to children.

At the international level, children's rights were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 and entered into force in Germany in 1992.2 (cf. Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 47). Article 12 describes the right to child participation: "States Parties shall guarantee the child who is able to form his or her own opinion the right to freely express that opinion in all matters affecting the child and shall take into account the child's opinion appropriately and according to his age and maturity" (Schmahl, 2013, Art. 12).

At the national level, paragraph 8 of the SGB VIII states: "Children and young people are to be involved in all decisions of public youth welfare concerning them according to their level of development" (para. 1 § 8 SGB VII).

Even if these legal bases are formulated very imprecisely and allow a wide range of interpretations, the rights of children to participate are laid down by law and must be implemented and approved in day-care centres. Due to the vague information in the laws, it is the responsibility of the specialists to what extent they understand, interpret, implement and enable participation spaces. "In this way, the concrete implementation of participation rights in day-care centres becomes the task of the pedagogical specialists, who decide what an appropriate participation in detail means in detail and corresponding to the child's level of development" (Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 52).

1.3 Relevance of participation for children

Children in the Federal Republic of Germany should mature into mature adults who can shape democracy in a wreaky and constructive way. The day care center is usually the first public institution that the children visit and thus, in addition to the family, an important place to learn participation, participation and co-determination. If "children grow up in a culture in which they participate, in which they are involved, in which they are respected and taken seriously, they will be happy to participate and also later as adults (...) make their social contribution" (Wyrobnik/Krause, 2012, p. 119).

By involving the children in relevant decisions that affect their direct environment, they feel taken seriously and their self-confidence is strengthened. The children realize that their opinion is important and that they can make a difference and learn to represent their own interests (cf. Wyrobnik/Krause, 2012, p. 123). They develop the ability to contribute and implement individual ideas, to comply with rules, to train their frustration tolerance and ability to concentrate, to practice and imitate democratic processes and to transfer their democratic knowledge (cf. Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 341f.). These are all skills that prepare them for their future, but are also relevant in the present. "Participation has a positive influence on the promotion of children's areas of competence and can thus be accelerated in the educational processes" (Wyrobnik/Krause, 2012, p. 126).

The authors describe the fact that participation has a multitude of positive effects in the book "Participation in day care centres for children". They identify participation as the key to education, democracy and social commitment:

Effective education is primarily achieved through self-education processes. The learning effect is greatest when children acquire new knowledge themselves. In order to make this possible, there must be a large scope in which children themselves actively shape their educational processes. "Education requires participation and participation forms. (...) Participation itself is a central key to the (self)education of children" (Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 111).

Participation is necessary to learn and understand democracy. Participation is both a method and a goal3. "Democracy does not come about by itself but must be learned" (Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 114). If children know and understand how the kita organization is structured and use their opportunities to have a say, they will later apply this knowledge to other democratic processes and organizations. Democracy is a way of life that is implemented in the kindergarten. These include fair and equitable treatment of all parties involved, the prohibition of violence and the recognition of the interests and issues of the children (cf. Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 122).

In a democracy, social commitment is an important and desirable component. In this context, social commitment primarily refers to the assumption of joint responsibility (cf. Hansen et. al. 2011, p. 133). The children not only participate in the decisions, but also carry them out and bear the responsibility for their implementation. They can also implement the learning of commitment later at school and in the context of social participation.

Participatory work in the kindergarten not only trains democratic educational processes of the children, but also general educational developments. "The participatory interaction processes that tie in with the interests of the children themselves trigger learning processes and open up new contexts of meaning and time" (Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 342). Through particpation, children can have empathy, social skills, self-efficacy and respect for human dignity.


1 They thus further developed the "Ladder of Participation" of Arnstein.

2 Children's rights are valid and recognized in almost all countries of the world (cf. Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 47).

3 It is a goal of the day care center that the children learn participation, but participation is also a method to learn democracy (cf. Hansen et. al., 2011, p. 114).

Excerpt out of 13 pages


Early childhood education. Participation in day care centres
http://www.uni-jena.de/  (Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft)
Partizipation in der Sozialen Arbeit
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
participation, early childhood education, day care, child care
Quote paper
Juliane Kühn (Author), 2014, Early childhood education. Participation in day care centres, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/1168537


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