Male Educators in Kitas (Early Childhood Education and Care Facilities)

A study conducted by the Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin and Sinus Sociovision Ltd, Heidelberg/Berlin

The study on ‘Male Educators in Kitas (Early Childhood Education and Care Facilities)’ funded by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) summarizes the findings of a qualitative and quantitative survey conducted from 2008 to 2009.

  • Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences: Michael Cremers and Jens Krabel
  • Sinus Sociovision: Dr Marc Calmbach
Starting point: facts and figures

When the survey was conducted, only 2.4 percent of all educators in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) centres were men. The percentage of men employed in ECEC centres varied dramatically at state, district and municipal levels. At the state level, the city-states of Bremen and Hamburg had the highest percentage of men in ECEC centres in the country. The percentage was particularly low in the eastern German federal states and in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria. The study points to possible reasons for these regional variations.

Methodology and survey group
  • Documentation of recent national and international research findings
  • Statistical evaluation of state and district-level data
  • 40 structured interviews with ECEC provider programme directors, administrators, educators and male and female trainees
  • Representative telephone survey of ECEC provider programme directors (n=100), administrators (n=600) and parents (n=1,000)
Key questions
  • What should general learning conditions be like in respect of educator training so that men opt for such a training and can – during training – be motivated to work in ECEC centres?
  • What should general working conditions in ECEC centres be like so that men opt for work in ECEC centres and (want to) remain there over a longer period?
  • Is the public and political interest in more male educators also reflected among ECEC centre providers and in ECEC centres themselves?
  • Are those responsible for training policy and education in these centres interested in increasing the ratio of men in early childhood education?
  • Are strategies being pursued to attract men to work in ECEC centres?
The doors of ECEC centres are wide open to men!

In this respect, the findings of the study are unequivocal. Those surveyed held the unanimous view that the few male educators currently working in ECEC make a valuable positive contribution to the educational work of the centres. The notion that male and female educators can learn from one another’s teaching methods was also undisputed, with around 80 percent of ECEC facility provider programme directors and ECEC centre administrators and around 66 percent of parents sharing this view.

Survey findings

Survey respondents reported the hope that increasing the presence and participation of men in ECEC centres would expand traditional conceptions of gender roles: caring, comforting and nurturing should be seen as masculine as well as feminine traits.

Strategic approaches and political support

Men can discover careers as educators through positive experiences working with children and young people—for example, in compulsory civilian service or in church or volunteer programmes.

ECEC provider programme directors and administrators want to make a significant contribution to increasing the percentage of male educators. They agree that an increase in the percentage of men working in ECEC centres can only be achieved with political support.

Recommendations to policy makers and ECEC professionals

The authors of the study recommend possible measures for policy makers and ECEC professionals in the following areas:

  • Professionalising and enhancing the status of careers in the ECEC sector
  • Providing career orientation for young men
  • Offering basic and advanced training for female and male educators
  • Providing professional qualifications to unemployed men or those seeking a career change
  • Developing and expanding tangible practical measures to increase the percentage of men working in the field
  • Compulsory civilian and voluntary service
  • Strategies for gender awareness and gender equality
  • Public relations work