Korsörerstrasse 10 Entrances I, II 10437 Berlin in accordance with the Berlin educational programme
- Location of “Sausebrause”
- Group structure / number and qualifications of the day nursery
- Opening hours
- Fundamentals of the educational tasks of the day nursery teachers/assistants
- Participation and the rights of our children
- How do we implement this?
- Cooperation with parents and educational institutions
- Ways in which parents can actively participate
- Participation and involvement of parents
- Cooperation with other institutions
- Child protection in accordance with Section 8a, Volume VIII of the
German Social Security Code
The Berlin educational programme
- Body, movement, health
- Mathematical basics
- Nature and technical activities
- Multi-sensory learning
- Self-confidence / independence
- Enjoyable learning experiences / the children are active and learn new
things by themselves
- Social and cultural life
- Communication: speech, language, writing and media
- Social behaviour
- Ability to give and take criticism
Location of “Sausebrause”
“Sausebrause” is located in the Pankow district of Berlin at Korsörerstrasse 10 (accessible via entrances I and II), 10437 Berlin (in the Gleimviertel, close to the Mauerpark). The well-equipped playgrounds, the nearby Moritz city farm and various small parks, which are all easily accessible on foot, are ideal locations and reference points allowing the children to discover their neighbourhood.
Our central location, the neighbouring suburb of Wedding and the Schönhauser Allee underground/commuter railway station, which can be easily reached on foot, offer a range of options allowing the children to discover all that Berlin has to offer, such as theatres, swimming pools, forests, forest schools, farms and so on, which, in turn, enables us to fulfil our educational mandate in accordance with the guidelines of the current Berlin educational programme. The association was awarded its license to open a day nursery for 23 children on the 127 m2 premises in 2008. In 2012, after joining the Berlin senate administration’s investment programme for children under three years old, “Sausebrause” received a grant allowing it to expand its floor space for play and functional purposes to 187 m2; the number of places envisaged in the operating license was increased to 25 children. Construction measures for converting the kitchenette into a fully equipped kitchen were also approved, allowing us to serve healthy, freshly prepared food for the children.
“Sausebrause” offers 187 m2 of play and functional space, which is divided into six group rooms, two children's bathrooms, two WCs for adults, a fully equipped kitchen, four hallways and a large children’s changing room. Of special note is the traditional Berlin-style architecture of the building with its high ceilings and irregularly shaped rooms with their nooks and crannies, which give the children plenty of scope for exploration and retreat.
“Sausebrause” has two entrances, both of which can be accessed via the courtyards. Both of these courtyards are also used as play areas. One courtyard has a sandpit, which is used by the children for spontaneous play. The courtyards also offer space for the children to plant flowers and engage in creative play, depending on the time of the year.
Group structure / number and qualifications of the nursery teachers/assistants
“Sausebrause” is a mixed-age, cross-group facility with 25 children (our operating license stipulates no more than 25 children, and we have no intention of increasing this number either). Depending on the situation and our daily routine, the children are also split into separate groups so that they can receive targeted support (e.g. with their language progress diaries).
The familiarisation period for new children is arranged individually in consultation with parents and on a relationship of trust. The children come from different social and cultural backgrounds.
“Sausebrause” currently employs four teachers – one full-time and three part-time – and two assistants in extra-occupational training. We also have one part-time housekeeper/cook. Our teachers/assistants work together as equals and in a team-orientated manner. The team conducts regular external and internal evaluations, and we also take advantage of the associated further training measures available to us. These seminars and further training measures form part of our teamwork ethic.
The weekly activities – e.g. gymnastics in the Max-Schmeling-Halle; the music teacher (freelancer) who visits us to offer early musical education – form a core element of our educational mission.
The teachers/assistants work together as equals and in the interests of all involved.
Parents’ evenings, parent meetings, progress meetings and team meetings take place on a regular basis and cover a range of areas including child socialisation, basic education, further training and supervision. Parental cooperation in the form of regular, one-to-one support, information and mediation meetings also form part of our work.
We organise special group activities as well as arrange visits to the theatre and library and trips to places both nearby and further afield; we also organise seasonal parties and events as well as the annual nursery sleepover and a “holiday” to a nearby children’s camp.
“Sausebrause” opens at 8 am and closes at 4.30 pm (4 pm on Fridays). Parents should make every effort to ensure that their children are at the nursery by 9.30 am. The pick-up times are flexible. The holiday closing times are agreed upon by the teachers/assistants.
Fundamentals of the educational tasks of the day nursery teachers
“Sausebrause” operates according to the basic principles of the Reggio Emilia approach (from the children’s perspective) and Maria Montessori (“Help Me to Help Myself”).
Our educational work is based on the principles of open, situation-based planning. We strive to embody desirable behaviours and, instead of emphasising predefined subjects and theoretical knowledge, make every effort to ensure that the children get involved in everyday activities. So instead of creating “didactic units” such as a “nutrition”, “crafts” or “cooking”, for example, we talk about and carry out activities such as shopping, handicrafts and cooking as part of our daily routine (e.g. during the “morning circle”) together with the children and talk about any questions or issues arising from them, if necessary exploring these activities in more detail (e.g. the process could lead to the children doing their own project work).
When planning activities, we take into account the children’s interests. They contribute their own ideas and are involved in preparing activities. In addition, we want the children to understand everyday actions and tasks in situations that are as close to reality as possible.
On walks or during other planned activities, the children have the opportunity to observe and familiarise themselves with everyday actions.
- We emphasise the importance of getting outdoor exercise and experiencing the natural environment, which includes studying animals and plants with a view to instilling respect for all living things.
- Through seasonal parties and games, children gain a sense of the rhythms of nature.
- We emphasise the importance of offering a diverse range of toys, games and craft materials (e.g. natural materials that we have either collected and purchased) as a way of
encouraging the children to give free rein to their imaginations and stimulate creativity.
We meet the children’s need for movement and exercise by playing outdoor games and offering swimming, gymnastics and dance sessions. It is important to understand that such activities are simply “on offer” – in other words, it is ultimately up to each individual child to decide whether they wish to take part and what they want to take part in. The focus here is not on mass group work, but instead on forming small groups and supporting each individual child in their independent activity. In addition to allowing children to engage in self-directed play, for which we allow plenty of scope, we also give children the opportunity to simply “do nothing” – after all, we consider it part of our educational duty to give children the opportunity to go about their business free from educational supervision and so give them the scope to discover more about themselves.
But in everything we do, how we treat each other – and, in particular, how the teachers/assistants treat the children – is crucial. We want to be able to handle disagreements and take a detached approach to situations.
The most important thing is our sensitivity to the children’s various life situations and to their worries, desires and needs. Effective cooperation with parents is a precondition for this. Through our educational work, we aim to help the children become independent and socially competent.
It is important to us that the children: - have fun with us and with the other children; - feel secure and accepted; - develop and strengthen confidence in their own abilities; - learn to recognise their limits and deal with frustration; - articulate their needs, feelings and difficulties; - engage positively with people; - develop empathy, respect and tolerance; - deal with conflict fairly and independently – and, if this is not possible, with our
constructive support; - can process everyday experiences and deal with any associated questions and
problems; - explore and engage with their environment; - develop creativity, imagination and initiative; - develop their own interests; - develop the ability to judge, give and take criticism and make decisions; - develop a sense of responsibility.
It is our job to support the children in developing these skills.
Participation and the rights of our children
“Participation” means sharing decisions that relate to one’s own life and that of the community and working together to find solutions to problems.
How do we implement this?
At “Sausebrause”, the children are included in all decision-making processes. This gives them the opportunity to understand and express their ideas, needs and desires and to share them in joint decision-making processes. We encourage the children to share their ideas, desires and needs so that they can have a say in what happens in the group. This takes place not only during the “morning circle”, but also throughout the entire day – for example, when the children choose what they want to play, who they want to play with, or when they go and find their own play corners. Other situations during the course of the day give the children an opportunity to make their own decisions – for example, at mealtimes when they choose what they want to eat and how much they want to eat. In meetings, majority decision-making processes and when group rules are established, these are reflected and renegotiated as and where necessary. Experiencing the value of equal rights, values and shared responsibility is a key element of the “Sausebrause” concept. In this way, children gain early experience in working according to rules, whereby we ensure that such rules are put in place and formulated jointly and in an age-appropriate manner so that children understand them. It is extremely important for us that the children can have their say on a range of issues such as:
- the equipment/furnishings in the rooms/hallways; - using the courtyards; - formulating rules in the day nursery; - organising birthday parties;
- participating in the activities that we offer; - playing with friends; - playing without supervision; - choosing mealtimes (alternatives are offered)
For the teachers/assistants, this form of participation is an opportunity to actively listen to the children, understand their needs, interests and desires, to take a step back from our own thoughts and opinions and to take account of the children’s decisions. Our job is to take care of all of the children, to support them during a particular period of their lives. We are there when they need us, but we do not force ourselves upon them. We observe and mind the children, but maintain a certain distance in our mutual relationship. We give them the time and scope to discover their potential, interests and inclinations. At the same time, they have to learn and accept rules and limits in the interests of their own safety and to help them navigate their way through their environment. Our own behaviour is authentic – in other words, we want the children to know what we like and do not like. We adults are characterised by our own individuality, which helps the children to understand and deal with different personalities and, in the process, learn important social skills such as appreciation, acceptance and mutual respect.
Cooperation with parents and educational institutions
Partnerships with parents and other educational institutions play a key role in our work and constitute a fundamental requirement. We strive to avoid any sense of rivalry between parents and teachers/assistants. For us, the parents are our partners and we treat them with due respect and acceptance. This cooperative relationship is cultivated systematically through a diverse range of offerings and activities designed to gain, maintain and enhance the trust of the parents. We take the parents’ needs, suggestions, ideas and support very seriously and take these into account in our daily work. The parent representatives – who are appointed by the parents themselves – are included in key decisions and maintain close contact between the parents and teachers/assistants. It is their job to inform us of any suggestions, problems and so on.
Ways in which parents can actively participate
- Getting involved in planning and preparing special activities;
- Helping out whenever there is a staff shortage; the parent representatives are responsible
for communicating any questions and problems the parents may have (i.e. they act as the
- Supporting the team in its public relations work (parents’ café, open days etc.).
Participation and involvement of parents
- Conversations “in passing”
- Progress meetings as and where necessary, progress forms – once-yearly parent meetings
- Parents’ evening every eight weeks
- Monthly parents’ café
- “Sausebrause” e-mail distribution list
- Parents’ evenings on specific issues (as and where necessary)
Cooperation with other institutions
Primary schools for all areas of education Lebenshilfe e.V (counselling centres)
To ensure that all families receive the help and advice they need, we also cooperate with the relevant administrative offices and authorities:
- health authorities, youth welfare service, senate administration, district authority
Every time a new child joins us, this changes the children’s group collective/dynamics. This is true not only of children with – or at risk of – disabilities, but also of every child: every child must be made to feel at home in our group. We work to ensure that each and every child feels integrated, that they feel at home in our group and cooperate with each other
- in accordance with their respective level of development;
- and through their mutual perception skills, ability to reason and ability to act.
Child protection in accordance with Section 8a, Volume VIII of the German Social Security Code If the team at “Sausebrause” has reason to suspect that a child's welfare is threatened, we are obliged to contact the parents or, if absolutely and ultimately necessary, the youth welfare service.
Each teacher/assistant has been instructed in the procedure for doing this. We have trained child protection specialists at “Sausebrause”. In addition, we are offered and take advantage of regular training and refresher courses in this area.
For us, the physical and mental well-being of our children is of the utmost importance. We have attended information/training seminars on this matter in the past and will continue to do so in the future.
Assessing the extent to which a child's welfare is threatened is always a difficult and sensitive task. The process of establishing whether or not a child in our care is at risk always includes the child in question as well as the parent or legal guardian (or step-parent[s]), provided that this does not jeopardise the well-being of the child in question.
A risk assessment is always conducted in consultation with multiple experts in the matter, not just by one teacher/assistant. In the event that a specific risk to a child’s well-being is identified, the person responsible shall proceed in accordance with the legally defined regulations / procedural rule and, in each step of the process, shall apply the relevant methodological assessment and evaluation criteria.
THE BERLIN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMME
Arts and crafts
Since the younger children in particular are still in the very earliest stages of language development, creativity with shapes, colours and figures is a highly effective way for the children to engage with reality and develop their imaginations. The children have access to paintbrushes and scissors and can use them in their free play time. At “Sausebrause”, the children
- learn how to use paintbrushes, pens, scissors and glue;
- learn about the primary colours and how to mix different colours;
- make their own modelling clay;
- try out finger-painting;
- draw with wax crayons, coloured pencils and watercolours;
- make models using board, paper sheets and natural objects (e.g. conkers, acorns, tree
- make clay models;
- draw life-size self-portraits;
- play with sand and water in the sandpit;
- experiment with different techniques (e.g. potato printing, sponge printing);
- learn basic origami skills, which also teaches them new words such as “fold”, “edge”,
- take part in seasonal activities (e.g. Easter, St. Martin’s Day, Christmas);
- help decorate the rooms (birthday calendars, picture galleries, window decorations etc.)
- experiment with water.
We sing and rehearse seasonal and situation-specific songs, rhymes and circle games. Once a week, a freelance music teacher visits “Sausebrause” to offer early musical education. Every morning we get together in a “morning circle”, which is a fun way for the children to learn songs, rhymes and circle games. To encourage experimentation and a sense of rhythm, “Sausebrause” offers a range of percussion instruments that the children can use whenever they want.
Body, movement, health
It is essential for a variety of reasons that children are given the opportunity to move and exercise, which is why we emphasis the importance of going out into the fresh air on a regular basis. The nearby playgrounds offer plenty of space for movement and exercise. In addition, the children receive physical education classes once a week in the Max-Schmeling-Halle, where they have access to a range of exercise materials and equipment designed to promote different forms of movement.
The play room contains wall bars, a swing and mats designed to promote sensorimotor processes. The courtyard outside the building also offers space for movement and exercise. Other exercise comes in the form of walking to the nearby playgrounds, during which we also place special emphasis on teaching children the rules of the road. The children can – with the consent of their parents and the teachers/assistants – bring Bobby cars and trainer bikes to “Sausebrause”
and use them either in the courtyard or on the way to the playground. If necessary, we also visit traffic instruction centres for pre-school children or take part in swimming courses. In addition to offering a variety of options for healthy movement and exercise, we attach special importance to organic, vegetarian wholefoods. Lunch is taken as a group and in a quiet, calm atmosphere (mindful eating). The children can drink (water and tea) and eat (raw fruit and vegetables) as much as they wish. To excite the children’s taste buds, our meals are prepared with fresh herbs and spices. Each child can decide for themselves what and how much they want to eat.
From time to time, the children are given the opportunity to cook and bake their own food with us. After breakfast and lunch, the children clean their teeth. Every three months, “Sausebrause” receives a visit from a representative of the Public Health Department.
We work with numbers on a daily basis in everyday situations. Counting rhymes and counting exercises (e.g. at mealtimes when the children are laying the table) ensure that the children are constantly developing number awareness. Mathematical principles are also taught in the following situations:
- How many of us are there?
- How many of your banana chips can you give away so that everyone has the same
- Awareness of geometric shapes such as triangles, circles and squares
- Combinations of numbers (e.g. telephone numbers, house numbers, ages etc.)
- Calculating quantities in cups and bottles; body height
- Promoting a basic understanding of mathematics by playing dominoes, games of dice etc.
- Learning the basic principles of telling the time and how calendars work
- Birthday chains / calendars
Nature and technical activities
The nearby parks (e.g. the birch grove and Falkplatz) offer plenty of scope for allowing the children to explore and experience nature. At these locations, the children can find lots of different natural materials such as stones, conkers, acorns, leaves and sand as well as a variety of plants and trees. We encourage the children to experience and observe the following:
- How the leaves change colour and are blown from the trees by the wind;
- How plants grow from seeds; we plant flowers in the courtyard and, on the
children’s farm, we make our own flower beds and learn how to cultivate plants;
- Melting snow - Animals
- Waste separation - Which objects are lighter/heavier than water - Fire
Perception is an active process. Children familiarise themselves with their environment using all their senses – in so doing, they create the world anew for themselves by linking and establishing relationships between things, people and personal experiences.
They ask questions about the relationship between what they have already experienced and what is new to them. Children build on what they experience and learn and, in so doing, become the “constructors” of their own knowledge. They refer back to these constructions they have created for themselves, refine and enhance them and develop new hypotheses on their basis.
There is a saying that goes: “A child has 100 languages, but they steal 99”. The first part of this saying conveys the idea that children have at their disposal an extremely wide variety of ways to express themselves; the second part reflects the interference of adults, who impose limits on this expression. Right from the moment that a child is born, they engage and communicate with their environment, express themselves, make signs and signals. They try to communicate in a variety of ways, not just through speech but with their hands, their body, using different materials – drawing, modelling, acting, music, mime and other forms of expression. They experiment with these various forms of expression, discover a sense of autonomy and find new material combinations, thereby enhancing their skills and capabilities – they experience, discover and shape their environment. From an adult’s perspective, this process of experimentation can seem directionless, but this is not the case: all the time, the children are developing and refining their capacity to discover and explore.
As children develop their mobility, so too do they develop their capacity to experience feelings. There is complex interaction between body awareness, perception via the remote senses and emotional perception. Through the emotional aspects of their experiences, infants make their first decisions by either engaging with or rejecting specific experiences.
If, in a specific social or cultural environment, sensual experiences are undervalued or even neglected, children are unable to internally process the information acquired by these sensory areas. The emotional tie with adults determines how effectively children explore their new, unfamiliar environment. Children are keen to discover things by themselves, and they do so through a range of exploratory movements, with stubborn insistence and using a variety of means. Intensive perception, thorough, multi-sensory exploration and all the creative activities in which children engage are closely linked with their understanding of the world. Children want to discover the world on their own terms, without being given predefined, “ready-made” knowledge. Throughout this process, they want to be taken seriously by adults.
The children have to learn to take responsibility for their actions as well as to understand and bear any consequences. We make every effort to avoid or defuse competition and power struggles. The aim is to instil a sense of responsibility among the group (e.g. older children act as “mentors” for younger children). The older children take turns to help lay/clear the table each day and help the younger children to get dressed or changed.
Self-confidence / independence
It is important that the children learn to recognise, articulate and – depending on the situation – satisfy their needs. In doing so, it is important that they appreciate and accept the feelings of others and assume responsibility for their own behaviour. It is also important for them to realise that their own needs may clash with those of others and that they develop the ability to reach a compromise. We also consider it important that the children learn to deal with failure and disappointment. They learn to understand their own bodies, discover their physical limits, assess their own capabilities and understand how these relate to each other – in other words, to develop a set of values (e.g. through plays, role-playing, the “morning circle”).
In many areas of life, they have to develop a sense of independence and become less reliant on other people’s help (e.g. during the nursery sleepover and “holiday” at the nearby children’s camp). If their abilities in a particular area are not sufficiently developed, it is up to them to decide who they want to help them and with what. The formation of a personality and a member of wider society requires a holistic educational approach that seeks to develop not only a child’s intellectual potential, but also their emotional and social skills.
Enjoyable learning experiences / the children are active and learn new things by themselves
Children love learning and discovering new things. The desire to discover and explore gives children a great sense of pleasure. Children come up with their own ideas and make their own suggestions for games and other activities. Children are delighted and proud when they learn something that is important to them. Indeed, it is this sense of pleasure that motivates children to strive and achieve, to overcome obstacles and difficulties. This sense of pleasure motivates children to take the initiative and successfully complete any given task. This joy they gain from this is more valuable and longer-lasting than any reward.
With stubborn insistence, using all their senses and from the moment they first draw breath, children discover, explore and shape their world and the things in it as well as the natural and social decisions and interrelations that are part of it. Children seek to comprehend, to try things out, to get to know and understand the unknown. They want to engage with themselves and their environment. Children seek to understand the “why” in life. They learn by “doing” – time and time again, in a variety of contexts and with different people. They seek to become “doers”. Simply watching and listen is often not enough. Children are born “learners”. Even unborn children have already gained their first experiences of life – and, in turn, learning – while in the womb. From birth onwards, the rate of learning develops at a tremendous pace. Children learn all the time – indeed, it comes naturally to them. Children develop their own perspective on the world and do so of their own accord. They want to be active and discover everything around them. What drives them to progress, develop and learn independently is their innate curiosity and their strong desire not to be missing out (“me too!”).
Social and cultural life
The day nursery is often the place where children develop their first friendships. They come into contact with people who look after them, they learn new rules and are not only individuals but also members of a community in which they have to share things and reach agreements with others. They also learn to deal with conflicts, settle conflicts verbally and follow rules.
By taking walks around the neighbourhood as well as visiting and meeting up with friends, they
start to familiarise themselves with their environment and gain cultural experiences. Through festivals, regional foods, traditional clothing, music and so on, the children develop an understanding of and respect for the similarities and differences between their and other cultures. The teachers/assistants also introduce the children to a variety of stories, fairy tales and songs.
Communication: speech, language, writing and media
It is extremely important to us that children speak in whole sentences and are given the opportunity to expand their vocabulary. To help them with this, we have a wall-mounted alphabet poster and a magnet board with letters. During the “morning circle”, the children have the opportunity to practice their ability to talk freely; they are also encouraged to talk on specific topics.
We pay regular visits to the library and theatre. We also read to the children every day after lunch, although we also read to them at other times too if they wish. Symbols (e.g. for road traffic) are taught as another form of language. In conflict situations, the children are taught how to communicate calmly and effectively, reach agreements, find compromises and establish rules.
In an atmosphere where boys and girls are equals, friendships develop and relationships among the children are explored in all their various facets. For example, they arrange to meet up or sleep over at each other’s houses. The children learn that rules are essential and that they not only have to be formulated, accepted and followed, but can also be changed.
We help children to find their own place in the group, to express their needs, to put the needs of other’s above their own, to establish contact in an age-appropriate manner, to develop understanding for each other, to look after the more vulnerable or weaker among them, to reach compromises calmly and effectively and to act in solidarity with others (in accordance with the principles of Maria Montessori: “Help Me to Help Myself”). Children always look to other people – an interaction partner – when engaged in their activities. Their movements and what they say generate and require feedback from the people that surround them. Everything children “do” is, initially, of subjective importance – the only thing that counts is their interests and whether they enjoy what they are doing.
While engaged in whatever it is they are doing, however, children also learn about how those surrounding them respond to what they are doing, meaning that they are forced to make a comparison between their own, subjective experience of whatever activity they are engaged in and how this is received by others. As a result, children not only become aware of the significance of their actions to us, but also gradually expand their horizon of meaning, adding to it whatever they themselves consider to be of importance. In other words, when children experience something that is significant to them, their intensity of learning will be much greater than if they do something that, for whatever reason, they perceive to be of little value or significance. Children learn only what they want to learn, not what they are told to learn. Children do not learn in a linear manner; instead, they learn at their own rhythm and pace, which is why they also need the time and space to engage with the tremendous variety of situations and issues they are faced with – major and minor – thoroughly, intensively, independently as well as with others.
Ability to give and take criticism
Within the social fabric of life, the children learn that conflict goes hand in hand with social interaction and that certain strategies can be deployed to help solve conflicts. The solving of conflicts requires the children to develop their own standpoint and assert themselves as individuals.
This also means being allowed to criticise adults without fear. This criticism and recognition helps to develop a realistic self-image, which in turn plays a key role in the development of the child’s self-confidence.