Course Content

The course consists of 15 modules, which can be grouped into four areas of study:

Area of study 1: Basic principles of childhood education
Area of study 2: Children’s approaches to the world / areas of education
Area of study 3: Fields of work, management, communication and counselling in institutions
Area of study 4: Research-oriented learning (including interdisciplinary studies)

Overview of areas of study and curriculum

 

Area of study 1: Basic principles of childhood education

This area of study comprises the following modules

M01 Basic educational and sociological principles in childhood education (1stsemester)

M05 Life conditions and lifeworlds of children and families (2nd - 3rdsemesters)

M06 Democracy and diversity (2nd - 3rdsemesters)

M09 Development in childhood and adolescence (4th - 5thsemesters)

In the area of study “Basic principles of childhood education”, students acquire a basic understanding of the educational and development processes of girls and boys as children and adolescents. The educational and developmental processes of children are shaped in educational institutions by historical and sociocultural educational concepts, curricula, concepts of space and time, relationships etc. Childhood educators must therefore have knowledge of the function, effect and design of democratic institutional frameworks, as well as of transitions between institutions.

At the same time, each girl and each boy constitutes a unique and unrepeatable individuality in relation to and interaction with the contexts within which they move. The development of children and young people is subject to a host of factors arising from the different life conditions of families and their social and cultural backgrounds, which provide explanatory models for the possibilities and limits of their social participation. Among other things, gender-specific or intersectional perspectives play an important role in social and societal contexts. The ability to perceive and appreciate the uniqueness of these life conditions and lifeworlds is a prerequisite for understanding and shaping inclusive processes in the institutions.

 

Area of study 2:Children’s approaches to the world / areas of education

This area of study comprises the following module

M02 Approaches to the world/areas of education (1st - 2ndsemesters)

To allow students to see and shape the complexity and diversity of educational processes, the programme allows for a concentration on approaches to the world and areas of education.

Childhood educators support children in discovering and developing different approaches to the world. Education is carried out in interaction with subjects that are prepared and processed in a specific way and thus open up a variety of perspectives and ways of experiencing the world.  Children need cultural skills in order to become purveyors and creators of their own culture. A culture of learning therefore needs to be varied and rich, but also provocative and challenging, allowingthe children and parents involved to participate and shape it together as a space for living and learning.

To this end, childhood educators must penetrate the idiosyncrasies of different world approaches in theoretical, historical and methodological terms. They must be familiar with theoretical concepts and methods and reflect critically on how they can accompany the development of the respective child’s abilities and their risks and support options. The aim is to develop research-oriented interdisciplinary projects independently with children and young people on the basis of perception, interpretation, documentation and evaluation, in which approaches to the world can serve as tools for world discovery and identity formation. For this to succeed, students need to develop a research-oriented mindset and position themselves as learners. In a further step and on a different level of reflection, students should be able to instruct, motivate and train others to follow these paths of world discovery with children.

 

Area of study 3:Fields of work, management, communication and counselling in institutions

This area of study comprises the following modules

M07 Basic legal principles (2nd - 3rdsemesters)

M10 Communication and counselling (4th - 5thsemesters)

M11 Development and organisation of educational practice in specific fields

Day nurseries, school children, childcare support (4th - 5thsemesters)

M12 Leadership, financing, management (5th - 6thsemesters)

A profound change is taking root within the system of the institutional field of childhood education. The further development of the various institutions in the field of personal service occupations therefore requires a foundation and a historical line of development for the ‘professionalisation’ of childhood education. Childhood educators are active in a field of a service society in which the different interests of children, adolescents, mothers and fathers and other legal guardians, employees, institutions and other cooperation partners must be taken into account and shaped. This requires responsible action or management in the institution and the associated community. Furthermore, this requires knowledge of the legal, sociopolitical and financial conditions in order to guarantee demanding development and learning processes for children. This implies being able to analyse the family and social law foundations and assignments as well as the administrative situation for professional work in the field of childhood education and to process them in a pragmatic manner and to understand family and sociopolitical approaches to solutions and instruments in context. In addition to field of education practice in the narrower sense, graduates of childhood education programmes increasingly also need to develop management and leadership skills for children’s day care facilities. Therefore, they must also be qualified for the business-side requirements of planning, controlling and financing the facilities and quality assurance of education, childcare and support measures. This requires basic knowledge of organisational structures and insights into motivational situations, team development or leadership development. Furthermore, this includes specialised methods of quality management or communication and counselling approaches in order to accompany dynamic team or organisational processes.

 

Area of study 4:Research-oriented learning

This area of study comprises the following modules

M03 Research-oriented learning I, incl.internship I (1st - 3rdsemesters)

M04 Research-oriented learning II (1st - 2ndsemesters)

M08 Research-oriented learning III, incl.internship II (3rd - 5thsemesters)

M13 Electives “Interdisciplinary studies” according to §1 para. 3 PVO

M14 Bachelor’s thesis

M15 Colloquium

The integration of theory, practice and research in order to achieve a research-oriented mindset is a central aimof the programme. To this end, students are given the opportunity to explore real-life applications and learn differentiated perception through the introduction to practical research methods – e.g. through video observation and documentation. This fosters the basic mindset for research-oriented learning, for an open perspective that relentlessly questions seemingly familiar situations, processes involving children and actions. Shapingeveryday situations with children is another issue that is addressed. The aim is to provide children and young people with learning environments that enable them to acquire complex world discovery processes. At the same time, students acquire skills in scientific research methods and evaluation methods that allow them to successively develop their own research questions. They work intensively on one of these research questions over a period of three semesters.

The aim of research-oriented learning is to gain new perspectives, contexts and opportunities for action through practical research. To this end, it is necessary to re-evaluate and scientifically question one’s own point of view again and again in order to enable children and young people to develop a self-active approach to the world and themselves. Students must become familiar with relevant research methods as a means of developing practical applications with a theoretical basis. Furthermore, the focus is on the work on perception, attitude and appreciation, on the design of processes as well as on researching and experimenting and developing projects.