Interview with the director of the Gebirgsjägerplatz kindergarten in Salzburg.
The staff of the private kindergartens in Vienna took to the streets for the first time on Tuesday to demonstrate for smaller groups and better working conditions. The facilities are closed from 6 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. Two days later, the staff of the public kindergartens demonstrated.
Kindergarten directorina Figallo from Salzburg hopes that the strike beyond the borders of Vienna is a wake-up call to make the public aware that working parents would be lost without the work of the teachers. “We guarantee the compatibility of family and work.” Many are not aware that kindergartens and toddler groups are early childhood educational institutions in which well-trained pedagogues – often with additional qualifications – work. “Our work is taken for granted, and we accompany children in one of the most important development phases of all.” If early childhood education was missed, there was no catching up later. “We are not an aunts’ association that plays and does handicrafts with the children and makes fun of them,” says Figallo. She has been in the job for 15 years and has been running the municipal kindergarten at Gebirgsjägerplatz since September. Only two of the 50 children looked after have no migration background, three children are cared for in an integrative manner.
Figallo recently completed a course at the country that teaches how to deal with autistic children. The number of children with special needs is rising steadily, says Figallo. The parents’ expectations are also great. “We have a lot of responsibility, but receive little recognition in return.” The challenge is to bring children who are not supported at home to the same level as the other children before they start school. More and more families would outsource tasks to the kindergarten. “Many young colleagues no longer want to do that to themselves, they also shy away from the great responsibility, the man as the group leader.” Those who work in kindergarten have to be very resilient and stress-resistant. The size of the groups and the staffing key needed to be improved urgently. “The conditions under which we work are demotivating.”