Team Concepts and Diversification

The early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector in Germany is characterized by a largely homogeneous staff structure, whereby qualified professionals (“Erzieher/-innen”) are predominantly represented. Conversely, in other countries, teams with a much wider variety of professions work together in ECEC centres. The high proportion of duly qualified professionals is considered one of the strengths of the German ECEC system. At the same time, as the debate on multi-professional teams shows, cooperation between people with different professional backgrounds and skills can add value and enrich educational work. To combat existing and increasing skills shortages in the ECEC field, we also have to consider new strategies and solutions. One such strategy could be the professional diversification of teams, without necessarily abandoning quality standards.

Team Concepts and Diversification in early childhood education and care (2024-2026)

Against this background, ICEC examines staff and team concepts in selected countries to uncover the potential, but also obstacles, diversification processes pose to staff recruitment and retention rates as well as qualitative developments within ECEC in recent years. On the one hand, we look into strategies and experiences of countries that have implemented diversification to counter increasing staff demand and new qualitative requirements in ECEC. On the other hand, we look into best practices from selected countries with traditionally heterogeneous staff structures to determine important framework conditions and quality measures.

The intended study addresses the challenges and implications of professional diversification at both the practical and management levels. The central research questions include the following:

  • What are fundamental characteristics of staff and team concepts? How are they justified?
  • Which role specifications in the team coincide with professional diversification processes? Which core competencies are expected of all employees?
  • Which management, staff and team development measures are required, and what adjustments need to be made at the regulatory and management level (e.g. salary structure, permeability of qualification paths)?
  • How does a greater diversity of educational qualifications and skills in ECEC teams affect job satisfaction and employee retention?
  • How are existing diversification processes assessed by relevant stakeholders? How does opening up the field of ECEC to other qualifications affect the coverage of staff requirements and the status and attractiveness of the occupational field?
  • How is quality changing? To what extent can the increasingly diverse needs of children and families be addressed better?

Special Issue "Team Concepts in Early Childhood Education and Care"
Together with Korea Institute of Child Care and Education (KICCE) and Dr. Pamela Oberhuemer (University College London, Thomas Coram Research Unit) ICEC published the Special Issue “Team Concepts in ECEC” des International Journal of Child Care and Education Policy”.
Thematic series: Team Concepts in Early Childhood Education an Care (Springer Open Access)



Birgit Riedel
Tel.: +49 89 62306-196

Tijana Lujic
Tel.: +49 89 62306-264