Research and Development
Our main area of research focuses on democratic education (Demokratiebildung) in daycare centers for children, youth work, child and youth welfare organizations and communities. We examine how the concept of democratic education is put into practice from a social pedagogical perspective and how children and young people practice democracy in their educational institutions and as citizens. In liaison with numerous foundations and agencies we continue to develop and test various methods of further promoting participatory democratic practice within previously mentioned social pedagogical institutions. Our work in this area is foremost in collaboration with the Institut für Partizipation und Bildung e.V. (Institute for Participation and Education), particularly concerning the concept of democratic politics in early childhood education given the name “Kinderstube der Demokratie” (the “nursery of democracy”). Bringing participatory democratic practice into the nursery, i.e. early childhood education and care centers is a project which we continue to research and develop in cooperation with ministries and official agencies, foundations (such as Bertelsmann and ZEIT-Stiftung) and pedagogical skilled youth workers in various educational organizations.
Additional research topics include cooperation between school and youth welfare services, democratic participation among disadvantaged young people, professional development of parent-child centers, adult male professionals in early childhood education and daycare centers.
In cooperation with other universities (Leuphana Lüneburg) and polytechnic universities (FH Kiel, HAW Hamburg, Fachhochschule für Soziale Arbeit und Diakonie Hamburg) in Northern Germany we offer our doctoral students a cooperative colloquium.
In addition, we hold together with Prof. Dr. Ulrich Deinet (Fachhochschule Düsseldorf) and Prof. Dr. Andreas Thimmel (Fachhochschule Cologne) an annual youth work colloquium concerning relevant theories and research.