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IPN-Sprotten: a success story

June 11th, 2018

For 5 years and in cooperation with the AWO children up to age 3 have been cared for in the day-care center at the Institute.

For many years, the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN) in Kiel has endeavored to create structures that support the compatibility of family and career. In 2006, the IPN received its first certificate from berufundfamilie Service GmbH for its family friendliness. From this point on, the IPN's family-friendliness was tested every three years. In 2017, after four certifications, each limited to three years, the IPN was the first Leibniz Institute to receive permanent certification.

Within this framework, a day-care facility for children under the age of three was established at the IPN five years ago: the IPN-Sprotten. Here, IPN employees, especially young scientists in qualification phases (doctorate or habilitation), can have their infants under three years of age cared for by a qualified child minder under family conditions during working hours. This helps them to successfully achieve their qualification goals. The opportunity was made possible by the unique cooperation between the IPN and AWO Kiel e.V., which has more than 20 years of experience in this field as a competent day care facility provider. The AWO's support concept is based on recognized standards and adapted to the specific conditions of the IPN. The daycare minder is subject to social security contributions, undergoes regular further training and receives professional support. The youth welfare office of the city of Kiel granted the necessary permits for the care. Care rates are based on the fee table of the City of Kiel.

For a relatively small facility, such as the IPN with just under 200 employees, a day care center was attractive because of the associated flexibility: only minor structural changes were necessary, the purchases were manageable. If the demand changes, the provisions can be adapted.

Over the past five years, the existence of IPN Sprotten has proven to be an effective measure to help people acquire their academic qualifications. In addition, it became clear that promoting a better work-life balance can also be a locational advantage. If one is aware of the peripheral location of Kiel and Schleswig-Holstein and the associated negative consequences, such measures become particularly important. "A family-friendly personnel policy is particularly important for a research institute. Precious know-how is lost with every employee who does not return to the institute from parental leave because family and research activities cannot be reconciled," says Professor Dr. Olaf Köller, Managing Scientific Director of the IPN.

The anniversary will be celebrated as part of the annual "Family Day" at the IPN on June 13th, 2018 starting at 2:30 p.m.