The German educational system still faces several key challenges. It has not yet managed to overcome the strong link between social background and educational success. Particularly at schools with difficult underlying conditions, it is important to offer additional support programs for the children. This is precisely where the "Fußball trifft Kultur" program takes effect. The program is aimed specifically at children between the ages of 8 and 14 who are in need of further assistance at schools in deprived neighborhoods. These are children from educationally disadvantaged households, predominantly with an immigrant background. The aim is to give these children access to a successful educational career.
Twice a week, the children alternate between one half of skills training and one half of football training. The skills training is geared to the needs of the children and specifically aims to improve their academic performance, while the football training promotes the children's social skills. The children see themselves as a team and learn various values such as fair play, respect, and tolerance through play. The concept is enriched by another important component. Regular participation in cultural activities gives the children access to art and culture. In this way, the children's horizons are broadened significantly and in a variety of ways. The program is rounded off by the "Fußball trifft Kultur" tournament at the end of the school year, in which children from the 32 locations in 20 cities participate. When selecting the teams, priority is given to children from educationally disadvantaged households and those from migrant backgrounds who have problems with the German language. In addition, children who are strong learners but socially weak are also integrated, possibly motivating the other children to learn.
The program starts at a crucial time when the children's educational path can still be significantly influenced, namely at the transition from primary to secondary school. Due to the relatively long duration of two years, the stimuli that the children receive in the program can be internalized and they gain a fundamentally new approach to school and social learning content. Access to art and culture or even an awareness of social skills are key competencies that will benefit the children throughout the rest of their lives. Children's educational careers can thus be influenced in the long term.