What does theater recognition mean

Youth welfare is upbringing and education

From Reiner Prölß

Photo: Rainer Deimel

"Youth welfare and education" - a topic that is quite controversial in our profession, and of which some believe that youth welfare is deviating with its educational requirements. (1) I disagree and see this as an opportunity for youth welfare.

What tasks and content, what role and function, what chances and possibilities does youth welfare have in the current or future society?

Does youth welfare still have any significance in this future society?

Is youth welfare perceived at all, is it important and still important?

What has to change?

I want to investigate these questions now.

The current education debate as an opportunity for youth welfare


Everyone who has ever dealt with education knows that the German concept of education is a cumbersome and difficult one that does not exist in other languages. It's an idealistic term. It is a concept of the Enlightenment, from which something like a “theory of education” developed in German humanism. The names associated with it read like the “who's who” of German intellectual history of that time: Herder, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Schlegel, Schiller, Fichte and many others have dealt with it. The forefathers of German pedagogy referred to it: Pestalozzi, Froebel, Campe and others. M. Schleiermacher spoke of an “indefinite end in itself” of education. In this tradition move the numerous - and in contrast to the PISA study unfortunately still far too little attention in the public discussion - such as the recommendations for forum formation (2), the pamphlet of the Federal Youth Board of Trustees ensuring future viability! For a new relationship between education and youth welfare (3) and the statements in Chapter B IV "Educational Opportunities and Challenges in Education" of the Eleventh Children and Youth Report (4), the paper The educational significance of the family - conclusions from the PISA study by Scientific Advisory Board for Family Issues of the Federal Government (5) or more recently, based on it, education is more than school! Leipzig theses on the current educational policy debate, which were formulated by the Federal Youth Board, the Children and Youth Report Commission and the Working Group for Youth Welfare (6).


The pamphlet of the Federal Youth Board of Trustees states: "Education always means: 'to educate oneself". "Education is always a process of the developing subject and is always aimed at self-education. Education is more than a catalog of accumulated knowledge, a canon of content that one needs to have in order - as is often claimed - to be considered an educated person. Education is neither a good nor a commodity. Education also means acquiring knowledge, but is not part of it. It is to be understood as the ability to lead a self-determined life, as empowerment, as the acquisition of opportunities for self-education. In children and adolescents, education as an "independent" process of the subject is of fundamental importance for its development and growing into culture and society ... "(7)

So education is booming! Since the PISA study was published, there has been a broad and sometimes excited discussion about the German education system. But this discussion is very shortened and conducted too much from the perspective of the school system. In general, the public debate according to PISA is characterized by a very narrow and also strange understanding of education, which - as Thomas Rauschenbach put it - "education focuses on the transfer of knowledge, on verifiable knowledge stocks". (8) Education is equated with school in order to then draw the equally simple and incorrect conclusion that an institutional assignment to the school sector guarantees education per se. In the current debate on education policy, the processes of appropriation that “serve to cope with everyday life” should perhaps be more closely examined, because “in view of the increasing complexity of social conditions and cultural and technical developments, in view of the increasing acceleration in the rate of change in living conditions “Education” cannot be limited to “imparting knowledge, interpretations and rules of a currently existing cultural way of life” (9) - describes the Eleventh Child and Youth Report to the next generation.

It is noticeable, however, that these requirements are formulated cheaply in declamatory speeches on Sundays and public holidays, but that they are not the basis for operationalizing educational institutions and shaping educational policy.

Anyone who embarks on such an operationalization will very quickly find that it is precisely the school in Germany that does not meet the requirements of the society just described in terms of structure and organization - despite many encouraging approaches and a number of committed and creative colleagues . School does not meet the requirements of a changed society in terms of content or didactic and methodological approaches, but - I venture the thesis - it still corresponds more than any other educational institution to the reproductive conditions of an "old" industrial society of bygone days. When looking at the school organization as well as the forms and contents of school learning processes, a form definition becomes clear which, with its Taylorization, corresponds to the transfer of knowledge and the structuring of time sequences (thinking in% -hour intervals), discipline and selection of industrial-capitalist mass production.

It is therefore no coincidence that school as it is only has a small share in sustainable learning by people in all phases of life. 70 to 80 percent of knowledge and skills are acquired outside of school.

A serious educational policy discussion must therefore take a look at all places of learning and consider how learning processes can be designed meaningfully and effectively - in and outside of school and that is the opportunity and task of youth welfare!

So education is more! Education is - institutionally speaking - more than school. Education includes - from the point of view of the conditions of appropriation - formal education, such as curricularly coordinated, largely compulsory school, training and university systems that certify performance, non-formal education as that form of organized education and upbringing that is voluntary in nature and has the character of offer and informal education which means unplanned and unintended educational processes that arise in everyday life in the family, the neighborhood, work and leisure. After all, from the perspective of the acquisition processes, education is extremely different, differentiated and individually diverse. And education - as already stated - is always also self-education.


The focus must be placed on the framework conditions, the rooms and places that enable successful learning, and the question of what knowledge, what skills and abilities we need today for tomorrow. The latter is certainly a difficult question to decide, which requires a value-oriented, socio-political discourse, the questions of democracy, maturity, tolerance as well as those of knowledge content, knowledge and skills in a globalized world.


Youth (aid) policy as a cross-cutting policy


In the external perception, youth policy is seen and perceived as departmental politics and internally mostly also lived as departmental politics. Youth policy is equated with the implementation of the Child and Youth Welfare Act and some other legal norms related to children, young people and their families (e.g. the BGB, JGG, JÖSchG, Adoptionsgesetz, etc.) as well as the Federal Youth Plan.

Ingrid Mielenz wrote almost 10 years ago in the volume “Jugendhilfe 2000 - Visionen oder Illusionen?” Published by the Working Group for Youth Welfare The goals she formulated herself have always been set far too narrowly. The life situations of young people and families are shaped by a multitude of conditional factors. Youth welfare - as an upbringing and educational area alongside others - takes place in a social context that has found its professional development with the concept of lifeworld orientation. With this context of action, which is oriented to the given living conditions, youth welfare services wanted (and want) to activate their addressees, change structures, and be holistic.

With a far-reaching, quite self-confident approach, namely to contribute concretely to the improvement of living conditions, ... an offensive youth welfare practice has established itself with the term “meddling strategy”. ... A youth welfare organization that deals with social changes, that takes the life situations and needs of its addressees seriously, will interfere 'across' with other policy areas and will have to develop action plans for this. "(13)


Orientation framework for a new youth (aid) policy


Finally, the question arises: What does this mean for child and youth welfare in current and future society in concrete terms, in a society that the organizer has identified as an “information and knowledge society”? What is the orientation framework for a new, offensive youth (aid) policy on site? A reorientation of child and youth welfare should - without claim to completeness - take place in the following three corridors:

Orientation and concentration on children, young people and their families

● We need a change in the youth and family policy financing instruments at all levels, the focus of which is on two principles: Services and infrastructure before money and service-related - but not monetary - subject support to strengthen the right to desire and vote, e. B. in the form of education vouchers, daycare cards, etc.

● In the past, youth welfare has tried to differentiate itself from family policy. That was wrong! Rather, youth welfare services must in future take the family policy dimension into greater account both in planning and in concrete practice. Firstly, it is about strengthening the ability to raise children in the family, secondly about social integration and overcoming inequality and thirdly about a stronger public perception of the importance of the family for the future of our community.

● Local social policy must focus more and more on children, young people and their families and - especially because of the tight budget - direct their resources accordingly.

● We need intensive cooperation between daycare centers, schools, counseling services, the General Social Service (ASD) and parent and family education. We need “new forms of networking”, as it is called in the 10th Leipzig thesis.

● On the basis of these considerations and the diverse knowledge about the importance of the social environment, it should be considered whether the role of the General Social Service (ASD) should not be completely redefined. The aim is to implement the programmatic sentence “from case to field” in terms of content and structure. Due to this change of perspective described above, combined with the concentration of resources on children, young people and their families, the ASD would have a new role and task. The social pedagogues of the ASD would have to cooperate more closely with day-care centers and schools and also use facilities as a focal point for the close social area. They would become advisors and managers of the local social area and its resources and potential, they would become district managers and coordinators for learning and educational processes in the district.


Youth welfare is upbringing and education

Youth welfare is upbringing and education, care, support and help. In the past, the upbringing and educational mission of youth welfare has been neglected in all fields of action; has been, also in the so-called "educational", such as kindergartens and youth work. The upbringing and educational mission of youth welfare must therefore be brought back to the fore again. This means, among other things:

Youth welfare is upbringing and education, care, support and help. In the past, the upbringing and educational mission of youth welfare has been neglected in all fields of action; has been, also in the so-called "educational", such as kindergartens and youth work. The upbringing and educational mission of youth welfare must therefore be brought back to the fore again. This means, among other things:

● There is a need for a quantitative expansion of crèches and crèches as well as day care for under 3-year-olds to a level of needs of 30 to 40 percent and a conversion of socio-politically based care facilities to educational institutions. Targeted addressing and mediation are intended to enable socially disadvantaged children (in need of social assistance) and children with a migration background to visit. They should be promoted accordingly. In addition, intensive parenting work is to be offered, including appropriate language courses. Due to the importance of learning and educational processes in early childhood, this is of great importance for successful integration.

● According to empirical studies, the quality of kindergartens in Germany can be described as mediocre at best. The more child-friendly educational approach - also often in contrast to school - is not met across the board. There is no systematic funding. It is therefore sensible and necessary to introduce binding standards, possibly within the framework of a national core curriculum. In particular, more emphasis must be placed on language support in kindergarten. The qualifications of the pedagogical specialists must be raised to an internationally customary comparative level.

● The transition from kindergarten to elementary school requires more intensive cooperation; interfaces must become steps of transition. In joint “enrollment conferences”, “individual educational plans” should be drawn up at least one year before enrollment, which bindingly determine the timely guarantee of individual support needs in kindergarten and its continuation in primary school.

● To strengthen the educational ability of and to support families, day-care centers are to be converted into “places for families”. Almost all children and their families are now reached in kindergartens. They represent a largely comprehensive social infrastructure for youth welfare. With their spatial requirements, they can become a focal point for the design of the social environment and for learning and educational processes in the district. A look over the German garden fence shows the potential that lies in such an approach for social integration (Early Excellence Center).

● The relationship - institutions conceived - between youth welfare and school and - conceived in terms of professionalism - school and social education - must be redesigned. It is currently characterized by two different positions. One is that the school should take care of imparting knowledge, skills and abilities and externalising educational issues or socio-educational approaches that go beyond this. The other position relies on social pedagogy in the school. For the latter position there are again three theoretical models. One relies on the integration of educational responsibility (and thus also socio-educational tasks) and teaching as a task of the school by the respective teaching staff (personal integration). This is often contradicted by professional self-image, general school conditions and corresponding qualifications, although this has to be differentiated depending on the type of school. The second model relies on the inclusion of socio-pedagogical professionalism in the school in the form of school social pedagogues as employees of the school system. However, since they have a rather marginal and structurally subordinate position here, there are often professional deformations and attempts to do the same as the teachers do to create their own teaching units, e.g. B. for "social learning" or "anti-aggression training" for the whole class, to be carried out every three quarters of an hour in the timetable. The third model is based on an equal partnership between the youth welfare and school systems at one learning location. The school as a place of learning is designed jointly, educational and learning processes are organized across disciplines and lessons, the lessons are de-rhythmized, the school thus becomes the point of contact for families in all matters of upbringing and education, it opens up to the community in cooperation with art, culture, sport and Economy.Specifically, this means that youth welfare must try much more to gain a foothold in schools with their entire range of counseling, parent and family education, child and youth work and assistance with upbringing. Youth welfare services must therefore also direct their resources more strongly towards schools. This applies to the area of ​​after-school education, the ASD and also child and youth work.

● Child and youth work must adapt in their relationship to school to the changed social requirements and a gradual change towards all-day school and develop appropriate strategies. If child and youth work, but especially youth associations, believe that they can reject all-day school with reference to self-determination and self-organization by children and young people, they will fail. Not the “if” but the “how” of an all-day school must be written on the agenda of youth (association) work. When school is open all day, what children and young people are looking for and find in child and youth work, self-determination, self-organization, friendships, games, sport, sociability, creative design, music and theater, recognition, trying things out, becomes possible , Power and performance dispensations, stimulation of self-designed learning processes, etc., then the question of the legitimation and structural positioning of child and youth work, that of the “use value” for children and young people, actually arises. It is therefore necessary that children's and youth associations are involved in the design of all-day schools, develop concepts and (are allowed to) go to school. Because youth associations as self-organized forms of society for young people have a socio-political mandate that is more than the organization of leisure and educational processes. For them it is also about political participation, advocacy and organization.

● The current development towards an all-day school is a great opportunity for youth welfare to meet the school on an equal footing, because the school system is currently not in a position to design and organize a professionally qualified all-day operation, nor to finance it.

● In their various fields of action, youth welfare services must work together with the school to develop individual education and support plans for children and young people, especially at the interfaces with the school. A model for this could be assistance planning in accordance with Section 36 of Book VIII of the Social Code.


Improve quality and organization

The professional quality of youth welfare and its organization in many areas do not correspond to the technical level of knowledge and in many cases also do not correspond to the normative and procedural requirements of the Child and Youth Welfare Act. That is why a quality offensive is required that includes organizational structures and professional standards. The action strategies of such an offensive should go in five directions:

● Integration instead of pillars: We need to abolish pillars within youth welfare. Because also the various isolated departmental responsibilities within youth welfare and their structure, z. B. ASD, street work, youth work and after-school care are often isolated side by side and do not correspond to the realities of their addressees.

● Clarity and transparency: goals, content and procedures must be clearly described, agreed and comprehensible. They have to be documented, checked, made transparent and their effect evaluated. We need more local knowledge about the effects of measures. For this reason, a reporting system should be set up at the municipal level and funds should be available for local research.

● Temporary instead of permanent: We need more flexibility and needs-based management in youth welfare. Structures, organization and financing must be designed in such a way that it is possible to react quickly to new requirements. (Tent instead of palace structures). In social work, however, there is an increasing tendency towards ideas, initiatives and institutions. The “blessing for all eternity” then takes place with one's own household. Such a development blocks resources and prevents innovation and further development.

● Intensive instead of routine: The youth welfare services must be more intensive and compact, promptly based on the need for support and they must be limited in time. Participation must be demanded in the sense of helping people to help themselves. That is also part of “promoting and demanding”.

● Active activity and participation instead of passive acceptance (self-help instead of alimony): The right to wish and choose of the addressees of youth welfare is to be strengthened, also in order to promote professional competition. As a co-producer, the beneficiary is to be more involved in everything up to now. Biographical, family and neighborly potentials must be used more and included. The diverse forms of civic engagement in a civil society should be mobilized. Professionalism and voluntary commitment or self-help are seen as opposites in the professional self-image of many socio-educational specialists. But this understanding is wrong. A different kind of professionalism is required, one that makes better use of the resources of the living environment.


Final remark

So much for a few thoughts on the direction in which child and youth welfare should develop. The question of intergenerational equity is more than ever the justification and legitimation for youth welfare. Let us take with us the slogan that Confucius gave his generation to take with him over 2,000 years ago: "Those who say it cannot be done should give way to those who act."


To the author

Reiner Prölß, qualified pedagogue, qualified social pedagogue, was for a long time a research assistant in the department for youth, family and social affairs of the city of Nuremberg, where he was responsible for questions of principle, planning and coordination. Since 2005 he has been a professional city councilor (department head) for youth, family and social affairs in Nuremberg. He has many years of professional and voluntary experience in various fields of action in youth welfare at local, state and federal level. From 2000-2006 he was chairman of the Working Group for Youth Welfare (AGJ) in Berlin.

Reiner Prölß wrote this article on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the construction playground Langwasser (Nuremberg). The article was first published in the book "Where the children play (d) learn", published in 2003 by emwe-Verlag, Nuremberg 2003. It is used here with the kind permission of the team from Bauspielplatz and emwe-Verlag.





(1) see: Hebenstreit-Müller, Sabine / Müller, Burkhard: Verhoben. Criticism of the “Streitschrift” of the Federal Youth Board of Trustees on the relationship between education and youth welfare. In: Sozialmagazin, 27 vol. 4/2002 and this: Why daycare centers in Germany are not yet educational institutions - theses and consequences in the elementary sector and consequences from HSA. In: FORUM-Jugendhilfe 2/2002

(2) Federal-State Commission for Educational Planning and Research Funding Workplace Education Forum: Recommendations of the Education Forum. 2001

(3) Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth / Federal Youth Board of Trustees: Ensure future viability! For a new relationship between education and youth welfare. A pamphlet by the Federal Youth Board of Trustees. Berlin 2001

(4) Federal Ministry for Family, Seniors, Women and Youth: Eleventh report on children and young people. Berlin 2002

(5) Scientific Advisory Board on Family Issues: The significance of the family for educational policy - conclusions from the USA study. Berlin 2002

(6) Federal Youth Board of Trustees (BJK), Expert Commission for the Eleventh Children and Youth Report, Working Group for Youth Welfare (AGJ): Education is more than school. Leipzig theses on the current educational policy debate. Berlin 2002

(7) Federal Youth Board of Trustees, pamphlet, p. 22

(8) Rauschenbach, Thomas: The educational mandate of the kindergarten - rethinking after the PISA shock. In: “Theory and Practice of Social Work No. 3/2002

(9) Eleventh Child and Youth Report, p. 153

(10) Mielenz, Ingrid: Where does youth welfare come up against the limits of other social systems in terms of efficiency? Living situations and qualitative aspects of the KJHG with regard to the necessary networking of social services and offers. In: Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Jugendhilfe (Ed.) Jugendhilfe 2000. Visions or Illusions. Bonn 1994, p. 29f

(11) Leipzig Theses, op.

(12) Eleventh Child and Youth Report, p. 122 ff.

13. For more details, see: Reiner Prölß: Pisa uncovered an educational catastrophe: Do we need “new ways of learning”? In: Jugendnachrichten - Journal of the Bavarian Youth Ring No. 4/2002

Further contributions to the discussion and important documents on the subject of "Education and Youth Welfare" can also be found in: Reiner Prölß (Ed.): Education is more! The importance of the different learning locations - consequences of the PISA study on the organization of youth welfare in a communal educational landscape, emwe-Verlag Nürnberg 2003