Our image of the child
From birth on, children are competent and actively conceive and shape their surroundings, education and development. Children continuously strive for autonomy and self-realization. We put the child with its individual skills and abilities in the center of our work. Furthermore, we see it as our social responsibility to strengthen the children, care for them, support them and educate them so that they can meet the challenges they may face in the world. We aim to assist the children to further develop their strengths and overcome or find ways to work around their weaknesses.
- The ability to negotiate and accept compromises
- Space for autonomy
- Space for active construction
- A stimulating environment
- Trust in their own independence
- Persons of trust
- Routine, resilience
- Healthy and balanced diet
- Recognition and admiration
- Boundaries and rules
- Trusting and in need of protection
- Open towards new things
- Ready to learn
- Explorers and researchers
Role of the educator
Educators are the children’s partners. They provide opportunities to gain knowledge, experience authentic life-situations, support them in the development of their identity, creativity, and assist them to experience their creative power through play. Educators are at the same time teachers and students. Through continual communication with children, parents and other adults, they identify which situations (so called key situations) are important in a child’s life – specifically, the needs and interests of the child. The pedagogical work is based on the analysis of situations. Therefore, planning is a continual process which is being documented and reflected upon.
Our educators are persons of trust for all the children. All staff members are responsible for all the children in the group and approachable for each child. The educators’ attitude towards the children is characterized by respect for the child as an individual. The support is based on the individual needs of the child. Together with the families, we care for the well-being of the children and the parents. The basis for this is mutual trust.
We establish rules together with the children, which scaffolds their development of independence. To strengthen the trust between the children and the educators, their reactions are honest and characterized by appreciation and acceptance. The educators act as role-models for the children and as such aim to maintain a respectful attitude towards each other. Because children are clever, they sometimes try to play the educators out against each other. Within the framework of the negotiated and established rules there is space for the educators to scaffold the children’s ability to act independently and responsibly.
We constantly motivate the children to act independently by giving them child-appropriate duties such as: table duty or tooth brushing duty. The educators nurture considerate and respectful behavior among the children. We also allow the children to seek solutions to their ‘problems’ on their own. Therefore, we have democratically elected kindergarten speakers, who are the contact persons for the children and adults. Furthermore, kindergarten meetings can be called by both children and the educators at any time in order to discuss wishes, suggestions and problems.
Observation and Documentation
The most important tool of the educators is observation. It allows them to effectively support the children’s educational and developmental processes. We use the ‘Sprachlerntagebuch’ (Language Acquisition Diary) which has been field-tested by kindergartens and the Berlin Senate since 2004. We use it as a portfolio where we collect and document the children’s developmental steps. In addition, we also use observation and documentation tools such as the ‘Leuvener Engagiertheitsskala für Kinder (LES-K)’, free observation, a developmental rubric, which is based on the ‘Gelsenkirchener Entwicklungsbegleiter’, and Kuno Beller’s developmental table in order to identify developmental delays and behavior difficulties in kindergarten children.
Once a year, or if needed more frequently, we meet with each parent to talk about the child’s development. To ensure that the pedagogical work is not interrupted during the opening hours, these meetings are held after 5pm and last approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. The child is not present during the meeting. In specific situations, these meeting can be held in the presence of the child.
Our Bilingual Concept
The children’s language development is nurtured and scaffolded in a bilingual system. This approach supports and supplements the children’s education. Learning a second language, in this case the English language, offers the children the opportunity to broaden their communication tools significantly. English is the leading language in intercultural exchange and business and is also taught and used as the second language in many countries. In a globalized world with its open and multicultural societies, in which the ability to communicate with others is vital – especially in Berlin-, our bilingual concept is an appropriate alternative to a monolingual German kindergarten. English language is used as an equal language to German in the day to day running of the kindergarten in order to foster its early acquisition as a second language. This supports the development of skills as well as the children’s cognitive development. Multilingualism is used as a source of educational processes. The entire daily routine is lived in both languages. Considering demands society puts on children, one main focus is the transition from kindergarten to school. It is our goal to familiarize the child with the other language in an authentic setting focusing on day to day routines and conversations. Seeing that we take children from different countries and also sometimes for short periods, it is important to nurture the existing English language skills and expand on them.
Working within a ‘Situationsansatz’
The founder of Lilolei has decided to adopt an approach based on the ‘Situationsansatz’ as it is proven to be effective in meeting the educational requirements of the children and their families while taking their social situation into consideration.
In a ‘Situationsansatz’ approach, the children learn actively and independently through their interactions with others. The child’s personal life situation poses problems and learning opportunities through which the child can learn together with others. The actual learning happens as a result of the communication, action and reflection during the problem solving process. Educational psychologists, pedagogues, and sociologists have found that the basis for life-long-learning is built in the child’s early years. We see the child as a person who strives to actively and independently construct their knowledge of how the world works.
- Having a say
- Being informed
- Joining in with experiences
- Being active
Children also actively construct solutions for problems, rules, world views and identities. They are continuously involved in the process of education themselves and are constantly confronted with social changes such as: diversity, reality, ‘virtuality’, personality, or gender. More and more, our children are asked to be involved in their own education. In our kindergarten we provide possibilities for the children to gather experiences and prove themselves in relation to the others. For that we provide many incentives and possibilities for the children to express themselves. We reflect on situations and experiences that are of immediate importance to the children or have just occurred in order to help the children to process them. The goal of the ‘Situationsansatz’ is to view education, the development of resilience, and the supervision and caring for children as a social responsibility. The children are encouraged to identify topics together with the educators. The aim of this approach is to develop autonomy, solidarity and competence. These are interconnected and are based on the democratic values and social developments.
- Autonomy: The children are supported in their development towards being self-determined and independent. They have the right to be involved and have their say. As such, we involve the children and allow them to have their say in the negotiation of the kindergarten rules. This allows the children to get to know and judge their abilities and strengths.
- Solidarity: Solidarity means that the children are made aware of and guided towards showing respectful behavior within society. Acceptance of other people and views, collaborative, tolerant team work. The acceptance of rules. Above all, we value mutual respect, deference and tolerance.
- Competence: Developing competence means that the children are being enabled to deal with and handle situations competently. For that, the child is assisted to develop trust in his or her own psychological and physical abilities.
|8am||The kindergarten opens|
|8.30am – 9am||Breakfast
|9am – 9.30am||Morning Circle
|9.30am – 11.30am||Activities
Wed: Fine Arts
Fr: Excursions, swimming, library, free play
|11.45am – 12.30pm||Lunch
|1pm – 2.30pm||Quiet Time
The smaller children are going to the other side of the kindergarten to sleep
Story reading, games, playground, free play
|2.30pm – 2.45pm||Waking-up of the children who were sleeping|
|3pm – 3.30pm||Afternoon tea|
|3.30pm – 5pm||Free-play|
|5pm||The kindergarten closes|
Our daily routine begins at 8am. The children can also be dropped-off later. After greeting the children and a short hand-over chat with the parents, the day begins with free play. This allows the children to arrive and get settled in their own time. Between 8.30am and 9am, we have a joint, informal breakfast. One of the most important rituals is the morning circle. It begins at 9am and ends at 9.30am. In the circle, we sing together, play finger- and movement games, hear poems, and talk about topics, names, numbers, the days of the week, the months, and the seasons. The morning circle is conducted bilingually. On Mondays, the children have Show & Tell. This means that the children may bring an object from home, such as a favorite toy, a book, a family picture, etc., to present it to the group and answer questions from the children and educators. The children can also tell the group about something they have experienced. Show & Tell supports the children’s language development as well as their ability to concentrate and listen. The children have the opportunity to overcome their shyness and practice their public speaking skills.
Between 9.30am and 11.30am, we offer activities from a variety of learning areas. From noon until 1pm, we have lunch. We focus on hygiene (e.g. hand washing before and after lunch and teeth brushing after lunch), and a healthy and diverse diet. The children are involved in setting the tables. In the play room, the children can find out on a chart with photographs what job they are responsible for each day.
The quiet time is from 1pm until 2.45pm. During quiet time, the children who nap go into the sleeping room and the bigger children enjoy a period of relaxation in the play room. Whether a child has a nap or not is decided based on conversations with the parents, observation, or the needs of the child on the day. Every child is provided with space and time to relax. In the beginning of the quiet time, the children enjoy a listening to a story, poetry or music. Every child is given the space to calm down.
From 3pm until 3.30pm, the children eat an afternoon snack, which is followed by free play and the picking- up time from 3.30pm until 5pm. We create an environment in which the children can prepare, process and understand life situations. They are offered a diverse range of possibilities to engage in activities catering for their needs, inclination, abilities and interests. In summer the snack is often eaten on the nearby playground. In that case, the parents pick up their children from there. A sign in the Lilolei window will inform the parents about where to find us.
The kita – „Deutsch-Englischer Kindergarten e.V.“ closes at 5pm.
|08.00-08.30||Free Play||Free Play||Free Play||Free Play||Free Play|
|09.00-09.30||Morning Circle||Morning Circle||Morning Circle||Morning Circle||Morning Circle|
|10.45-11.45||Walk or Playground||Walk or Playground||Walk or Playground||Walk or Playground||Walk or Playground|
|13.00-14.45||Nap Time||Nap Time||Nap Time||Nap Time||Nap Time|
|15.00-15.30||Snack Time||Snack Time||Snack Time||Snack Time||Snack Time|
|15.45-17.00||Playground or Free Play||Playground or Free Play||Playground or Free Play||Playground or Free Play||Playground or Free Play|
Once a month, we plan a larger excursion. This supports the sense of community within the group. Among other places we visit the Wansee, Teufelsberg, theatres or the Zoo. We also make sure that we visit playgrounds other than the once nearby. During these visits to other environments, the children gather experiences that foster their special awareness. At the same time, the children engage in road-safety education.
Furthermore, we have a yearly theme. This theme, e.g. Berlin or The Arts and Cultures, stay with the group throughout the year and all learning areas. Once a year, in spring/summer, we plan a 3 to 5 day kindergarten trip. In order to prepare the children, we offer a sleep-over at the kindergarten twice a year.
Each day, the children experience a range of traffic situations, which is why we begin road-safety education begins as soon as the children enter the kindergarten. Once a year, a police officer visits our kindergarten and explains the most important rules. He also introduces the different vehicles to allow the children to understand their role and overcome some of their fears. Prior to this visit, we prepare the group. On a daily basis, we develop the children’s traffic awareness and address road-safety rules when we are out and about. In spring, we take the children who are 4 years and older to the ‘traffic school’ for several months. The children can understand the road rules more easily because the school provides a miniature traffic system that the children can move around in. To recognize a child’s success in this cooperation, the children receive a certificate at the end.
Excursions (Day trips / Project-based trips)
Day trip are very important for children. They provide a balance, are educational and entertaining. The children’s independence and the cohesion within the group. The children love these excursions and being out in nature. It provides a change from the usual kindergarten routine. Both the smaller and the bigger children have a lot of fun. Again and again, we observe how the children live out their urge to explore when they are out in nature. One of the most popular destinations is the forest, because there are many things to explore and the children can rollick around.
We also go on excursions to support the project the children are engaged in. For the Berlin project for example, we visit the ‘Brandenburg Gate’, the ‘Funkturm’, the TV Tower, the Victory Column, the ‘Schloß Charlottenburg’ etc. This allows the children to familiarize themselves with their city. To finish off the project the group goes on a city tour.