“This proposal accommodates the fact that Kita [kindergarten and creches] opening hours aren't always easy to accommodate with parental working hours,” MP and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) chief in Berlin Kai Wegner told The Local on Monday.
The plans would see every administration inside the capital required to keep at least one Kindergarten open for 24 hours.
“In a city like Berlin, where there are many single mothers and fathers and more and more people work in the evening or nights, we need significantly more flexible care options,” Wegner said.
Wegner was unable to say how many parents he expected to benefit from the plan and how much it would cost to employ carers for the extra hours.
“It depends on how each district implements the 24-hour Kita,” Wegner said. “It's important to find out soon how big the demand for the additional offer really is.”
Wegner added that any one child would only be taken care of for the usual number of hours – parents wouldn't simply be invited leave their children with carers for days at a time.
Steve Tattum, a British father of two who lives in Berlin told The Local he is “sceptical” about the idea of a 24-hour kindergarten.
“Personally I’d rather not work and look after my kids. [Leaving them in a Kita overnight] would be weird,” he said.
“I wouldn’t want my kid waking in the middle of the night and not having mummy or daddy to call for but there only being a stranger there. It would have a big effect on a child.”
Tattum, who trained as a Kindergartern teacher in 2009 and worked in a Berlin Kindergarten for two years emphasized that children need regularity and familiarity.
“In German Kindergartens you have something called Eingehwöhnung the process whereby the children are gradually introduced to the carer a little bit extra every day. This lets the child slowly grow a relationship with the carer.”
It is also questionable how much demand there would be for the 24-hour Kita.
A spokesperson for the Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Berlin told the Berliner Morgenpost “We’ve learnt that parents only very occasionally asked for this offer. Kindergartens that have offered this in the past have normally stopped because of a lack of interest on the part of parents.”
At the moment only 500 children in the Berlin area are taken care of in “ancillary care,” said the spokesperson.