Balancing research, work and family

children's hands and sweets
The children who take part in the holiday programme can participate in creative workshops where they make edible train wagons from biscuits, gummy bears and marshmallows. (Image: Kora Wowy)

The FAU Family Service provides support and advice

Are you and your family are new to the region and you don’t have any childcare yet? Do you have to give a presentation in the evening at the University and you don’t have a babysitter? Or do the school holidays coincide with the lecture period and you don’t have anyone to take care of your children? Balancing the demands of work, research, study and family life is not easy. It’s good to know there’s a place FAU members can turn to in such situations – the Family Service.

Finding childcare

Lots of things need to be taken care of when you move to a new city and if your entire family moves with you, making arrangements for childcare is just one of them. As places at nurseries and kindergartens are linked to the place of residence, it is often difficult for international researchers or newly-appointed professors to find childcare for their children. ‘This is what happened to me,’ says Prof. Dr. Kathrin Castiglione from the Chair of Bioprocess Engineering. ‘I was appointed at FAU last year and didn’t know at the time where I would be living,’ she says. This is a common problem, but the FAU Family Service can help. ‘We keep in touch with several nurseries and kindergartens in the area,’ says Heidrun Stollberg, who works at the FAU Family Service. The FAU Family Service provides support if newly-appointed FAU professors are still abroad or haven’t yet decided where they are going to live. ‘In such cases, we explain to the nurseries or kindergartens that the professor is going to work at FAU, but doesn’t yet know where they are going to be living,’ she explains. ‘The FAU Family Service helped me to find a space at nursery and kindergarten for both my sons,’ confirms Prof. Castiglione. A total of 100 childcare places are available in various childcare facilities in Erlangen, Nuremberg, and Fürth for FAU members. This also includes ‘Pfauennest’, FAU’s own nursery, which is being expanded during the next few years to include two kindergarten groups and one additional nursery group.

A varied programme

In addition, the FAU Family Service offers a wide range of childcare options for children in three different age groups during school holidays provided by experienced and trained students. Depending on their interests and age, children can sign up for a wide range of activities with everything from theatre workshops and hip hop to self-defence and English lessons. ‘We cooperate with various departments and degree programmes. This gives the children the opportunity to watch physics experiments or try out 3D printers,’ explains Heidrun Stollberg. Staff are informed about the programme by e-mail.

The emergency plan

In addition to the childcare offered during school holidays, the FAU Family Service has a large pool of babysitters who are all students. ‘When we get an inquiry, we contact our students and put them in touch with the families. All the other arrangements are made by the student and the family themselves,’ she explains. In addition, the FAU Family Service cooperates with the Deutscher Hausfrauenbund Erlangen – a team of trained child carers and carers. If a child falls ill or if an event held in the evening means you need childcare at short notice, the Deutscher Hausfrauenbund Erlangen is ready to help and ensures you can get the support you need.

The FAU Family Service is available for all staff, researchers and students at FAU. You can find more information about the support and advice the service provides on the FAU Family Service website.