The Department of Children and Childcare examines the living conditions and everyday experiences of children in Germany. One group of research topics investigates the way in which childhood is socially structured and the way in which it changes as a result of social change. Special emphasis is given to educational institutions as well as supplementary services to schools, such as day care centres and after-school programs. These services are currently being developed and debated in the context of extending and further developing day-care facilities and also all-day schools.
Another group of topics involves educational and learning processes, particularly in early childhood and outside of school. Studies in this area address issues involved in current debates on compulsory education in day-care facilities and non-school learning activities. On the one hand, applied research projects are being carried out here, while on the other hand scientific analyses on the usage and effectiveness of the available facilities are being conducted.
A third group of topics involves studies on children’s life situations. These are concerned both with social-structure determinants that allow a differentiated picture of social inequality, such as those investigated in the Children’s Panel. They also deal with the question of how children themselves experience their childhood, what opportunities for action and what resources are available to them, and which opportunities for education and learning they make use of. One focus of research in this context is the usage of the Internet by children, both in their leisure time and in the school context.