The Concept

The pedagogical concept of the Kita Möhrenbande e.V.

as of September 2013

1. Let us introduce ourselves:

„There is only one truthful joy: dealing with people“ (orig. „Es gibt nur eine wahrhafte Freude: den Umgang mit Menschen“ )
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This concept was developed by the founding members of the Möhrenbande e.V. regarding the following basic principles:

  • Community life in the inner-city residential environment
  • Discovering and experiencing the nature outside the city
  • Networking for families
  • Initiating independence
  • Social learning in everyday events
  • A balanced diet
  • Space and time for movement and exercise
  • Creativity, music, culture, politics and language
  • Participation and democracy
  • Everyday language promotion

All of the above are concluding our guiding principle: In its identity, the Kita Möhrenbande is a family complementing and family supporting day-care institution. We live and work with children, focusing on the development of an “I & WE-identity”. In our community heterogeneity is not only desirable but also normality.

1.1 The supporting association (Trägerverein)

The Möhrenbande association was founded in 2011 by dedicated parents. It is the supporting association and part of the charitable institution Der Paritätische. As members of this association the parental membership is tied to the ‘Education and Care contract’. The board, elected by the members are representing the association. According to legal requirements, they handle all necessary tasks in cooperation with the pedagogical management. The modalities of the association membership are regulated in the statutes. The institutions’ committees are the board, the parents’ council and the management team, which together form the council of the day-care centre. All committees are frequently meeting for transparent organization and exchange.

1.2 The day-care centre

The Kita Möhrenbande is located on the southern edge of the district Innenstadt-West within walking distance of the wooded area Bolmke/Stadion. The building is part of the Theodor-Fliedner-Heim, which is a retirement home building complex. Our premises are located on the ground floor of building 100a and to the west the outdoor area can be found.

The group rooms are designed according to the partially open concept (see point 2.1). Spacious places for role-play, construction, movement, music, rest and relaxation, creativity and research work are located in different group rooms and group adjoining rooms. In addition, there are rooms that are reserved exclusively for children under the age of three (u3) and also rooms for over three year old children (ü3). There are two cosy bedrooms, which ensure a midday rest for children under three years (as well as for some children over three). Child-friendly and barrier-free sanitary facilities (also suitable for under three years) are available in two versions. In individual rooms, materials suitable for support and therapy are available in order to be able to make a corresponding offer, integrated into everyday life for the children with a need for inclusion. A distribution kitchen, in which our cook/housekeeper prepares the food (supplemented by food components of the Theodor-Fliedner-Heim) according to the guidelines of the Institute for Child Nutrition Dortmund (based on Optimix), is next to a food preparation room, in which the children are introduced to the preparation of healthy nutrition in a child-friendly way.
Adjacent to the kitchen and the food preparation room is the large living room. In here the flexible breakfast and lunch are offered. Furthermore, the morning circles (Morgenkreis), dance rounds, handicraft and creative offers (etc.) take place here. A staff room and office for employees are located in the entrance area.
The outdoor area covers about 600m² and is equipped with sandboxes, a large meadow, mobile play material and play equipment for all ages. All rooms and the outdoor area are regularly redesigned with the participation of parents and children according to the children’s needs.

1.3 Staff

The staff of the Möhrenbande combines pedagogical specialists and supplementary employees who are assigned to the groups in accordance with the provisions of the personnel agreement of the Children’s Education Act. The professionals possess a broad portfolio of additional qualifications and furthers training (such as creative therapist, motor therapist, language promotor, child protection specialist, U3 specialist, etc.) so that everyone can be offered the support that meets their needs. The employees bring joy and warmth, a thirst for adventure, a sense of responsibility and a constant amazement at the development of the children and build the main roots of the Möhrenbande. In addition, the pedagogical team is supplemented by trainees, federal volunteers (Bundesfreiwilligendienstler*innen) and interns. A cook/housekeeper and a cleaner support the prosses. In order to meet the additional needs for inclusion in education, the staff hours are increased on the basis of LWL-funding (Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe).

1.4 Basic pedagogical forms

The Möhrenbande offers eleven places for children under the age of three (Möhrchengruppe) and 34 places for children over three years (Karottengruppe). The conditions of admission are regulated in the statutes. All places are day-care places with 45 hours of childcare per week and a hot lunch.
The partially open concepts (see point 2.1) enables the children to participate in activities in the daily routine in addition to their core groups and age and their individual interests.

1.5 Weekly schedule/ daily routine

The opening hours of the Möhrenbande are between 07.30 a.m. and 04.30 p.m. The children can be brought to the kindergarten until 09.00 a.m. and picked up again from 02.45 p.m. to 04.30 p.m. For urgent appointments, in exceptional cases a pick-up between 12.45 to 13.00 o’clock is also possible.
The daily routine and the weekly schedule are characterized by ritualized activities such as breakfast time, mornings circles, fruit rounds, lunch, free play, singing circles, walks and playground visits, excursions, swimming days, weekly day trips for the children over three, trade fair visits, as well as the children’s participation in domestic activities such as cooking, baking, setting the tables, disposing paper waste and glass to the container, sweeping the yard etc.

1.6 The annual cycle

With its specific circumstances of the seasons and respective festivals, the annual cycle has a structured process. This process is experienced by the children and planned and carried out with the parents: Carnival, Easter, beginning of summer, farewell of the preschool children and the end of the kindergarten year, restart of the kindergarten year, summer festival, Thanksgiving, St. Martin and Christmas. In the Wichtelwerkstatt (elf workshop), lovingly designed and handmade gifts are created throughout the Advent season.
Special offers such as excursions to the zoo, the Westfalenpark, the organic farm, a visit to the dentist/ fire brigade/train stations, the trip to the Netherlands in springtime and special offers such as water, environmental protection, instruments, fairtrade, children of the world, children’s rights, professions, fire protection etc. are planned according to the interest the needs of the children and implemented with the appropriate accessories.

2. Pedagogical concept

Das Kind wird nicht erst zum Menschen – es ist es heute schon“ Janusz Korczak, 1921

The child does not become a person – it already is (freely translated)

The Möhrenbande is a parents’ initiative and views itself in its identity as an integral part of the everyday life of the families. The cooperation with the parents in both organizational and educational processes is the basis of the institution. Everyday life should be designed for families and employees in a way that all participants live together, learn from each other and walk a part of their lives together.

The children’s perspective and well-being are representing the highest priority, but we are convinced that this can only be ensured when all adults involved feel comfortable. The pedagogical specialists work hand in hand with the parents. Mutual trust, appreciation and respect are elementary prerequisites at this point.

2.1 Pedagogical approach – partially concept

The Möhrenbande works with a partially open concept. The core groups of the children offer framework conditions and structure. The children have the opportunity to choose rooms according to their interests and mood. These rooms are designed situation-oriented and according to the children’s interests.

Romping, role-playing, construction, experimentation, board games and much more are freely accessible for the children. One room is mainly dedicated to creativity. Watercolours, crayons, modelling clay, scissors, glue and a lot more materials are available. The children under three are fundamentally bound to their spaces, where they find safety and structure. Joint activities with older children take place under the guidance of the pedagogical staff.

2.2 Pedagogical aims

The Möhrenbande works for the pedagogical implementation of the vision that children from a wide variety of biographical contexts with their individual abilities can shape their future sovereignly and in solidarity. We are guiding the children through their development by orientating the resources and reasonably supporting their special needs.

2.3 Priorities in the practical pedagogical work – the original need for free play (Freispiel)

The KiBiZ (Kinderbildungsgesetz; Children’s Education Act) anchors the support of children in ten areas of education. These include: exercise/movement, body-health-nutrition, language and communication, social-cultural and intercultural education areas, musical-aesthetic education (music and design) religion and ethics, scientific and technical education areas, mathematical education areas, ecological education areas and media. These areas of education can be found in the pedagogical concept of the Möhrenbande in various focal points. Another important area of education for us is road safety education, as the children grow up in the inner-city living environment. A sovereign moving around in the metropolitan jungle is essential to get along and cope.
In addition, the cooperation with the Theodor-Fliedner-Heim enables an everyday coexistence between young and old, so that intergenerational life forms another anchor of the pedagogical work.

In the following, we will outline the implementation of the ten educational areas.

2.3.1 Nature and environment

The majority of children in the Möhrenbande all live in an inner-city living environment. The characteristics of the city including traffic lights, sidewalks and fast – sometimes dangerous roads, are more familiar to most children than rurality and forests. Thus, it is an elementary educational goal to experience nature with the children, to explore the coppice and to get in touch with flora and fauna. But also, ecological issues such as waste separation, recycling and actions like garbage collection in the park (with appropriate tools) are part of the ecological responsibility we are engaging.

2.3.2 Exercise/ movement

The natural urge to move is taken account in many ways. In particular, the awareness of the social developments that lead to the fact that children – especially in the urban living environment- are offered very little space and time for movement- Therefore, they can’t initiate and adequate focus on this educational area. In concrete terms that means: There is a separate room for exercise in the facility with different elements that promote gross motor skills. In addition, movement games, dance activities and indoor ball games can take place in the Begegnungsraum in the basement on 80m². Almost every day there are outdoor activities for all children, either on the kindergarten’s own outdoor ware, in the surrounding green area (Westpark, Bolmke, Westfalenpark) or on nearby playgrounds.

Balance bikes, tricycles and bicycles are part of the equipment and may also be taken on excursions. Every Wednesday the Karottenkinder (children over three) make excursions, where various destinations are approached by foot, metro, train or cars.
Once a week alternating groups of
Karottenkindern pay a visit to the swimming pool, where we focus on water habituation, romping and splashing. Outdoor pool visits take place in summer at appropriate temperatures. For the preschool children there is an ice-skating offer from September to May in cooperation with the Eissportzentrum Westfalen.

2.3.3 Nutrition

The health education at the Möhrenbande is primarily based on the role model function of the educators and parents, as well as the offer of varied, fresh and healthy food. The food offer is based on the guidelines of the Institute for Child Nutrition in Dortmund. The processed foods are mostly from organic cultivation. Where possible, attention is paid to seasonal and regional products. The children experience through the cook/housekeeper how their food is freshly prepared. They are involved in the preparation as well. At least 60kg of fruit and vegetables are processed every single week. In smaller projects, e.g. at thanksgiving, the topic of food is dealt with intensively. In addition, there are visits to the dentist and also medial and artistic accompaniment through books and design activities.

2.3.4 Creativity and music

Children get to know the world through active grasping. They seek the implementation of their mental understanding of contexts in the creativity. The possibilities in the artistic field are available for the children of the Möhrenbande as a constant offer. Painting utensils, modelling clay, watercolours, scissors, glue etc. are available for the children by arrangement. In addition, there are theme-related designs and creative works that are based on seasonal focuses or selected projects. For children whose area of interest is not design, there is a pedagogical introduction toward creatively designing self-chosen specialisation topics, e.g. in handicraft.
For children, music is a basic part of their self. They constantly sing and hum learned songs, but also own creation with fantasy words or nonsense lyrics. This primordial human musicality is considered in the Möhrenbande. Music is an integral part of everyday life. In addition to songs in the morning circles there are pure musical circles and offers of early musical education. Various instruments are used that help the children to create and experience rhythm and beat themselves.

2.3.5 Social learning, language, culture, politics and communication

Social learning is a daily part of interpersonal relationships. Children experience themselves as part of social relationships and learn from the example of adults and in the free play with other children. But also accompanied situations in role play, in circle games and exercise offers enable structures of togetherness. Trust, the potential of conflict resolution, respect and tolerance towards others are developed. Practical elements such as ‘emotion games’, picture boards and stress balls give the children the opportunity to develop an access and understanding of their own feelings and to distinguish between anger, disappointment and fatigue as well as pride, contentment, courage and happiness and then to consider all feelings as ‘normal’. A joint naming of concrete situations and targeted questions support the children in recognizing wishes and feelings but also insecurities.

In the Möhrenbande we strive for an appreciative and respectful interaction with each other and try to give every single person, whether big or small, the feeling that they are exactly right with their opinions, convictions and wishes. But also, that everything needs to be negotiated in cooperation with others. Within this dialogical cooperation, a basis for democratic action is practised. For example, there are voting procedures on topics and activities that concern the children. Furthermore, the children are instructed in circle discussions and smaller group discussions to express their opinions and needs and to formulate complaints about general and/or personal concerns in an appropriate manner. By such forms of participation, the children learn that they help shape systems and develop new things through their own actions and involvement. In section 2.4 you will find further detailed descriptions of participation and complaint management in day-to-day kindergarten life. An introduction to cultural and political topics take place in course of projects. Language and communication take place in all areas of life. The value of language results from the value of the communication patterns that we cultivate with each other. The Möhrenbande pursues everyday integrated language promotion, which is characterized by dialogical reading, language games and elaborative remembrance, as well as conscious use of language by the pedagogical staff. Detailed aspects of the ‘integrated language promotion’ can be found in section 2.5. Unaccompanied play by the over three-year-old children outside in the garden also promotes social skills.

2.3.6 Religion, spirituality, ethics

Children are equipped with a basic spirituality. Their fascination for the mystical, the hidden and the intangible is reflected in the enchantment of stories about dwarves, fairies and fairy tale characters. Biblical stories also fascinate children. In the Möhrenbande, the mediation or religious content takes place on one hand through an introduction to the Western cultural heritage, on the other hand by acquainting other cultures and religions with their festivals and stories. There are always different levels of access for the children. In addition to imparting knowledge about stories in conversations, festivals are celebrated, religious content is re-enacted (St. Martins play, nativity play, Passion Trail etc.) and sensory experiences are offered via fantasy trips and dream trips. Social issues: Poverty, fairtrade, death and dying, children’s rights, cooperation with refugee institutions are addressed thematically.

2.3.7 Science, research and mathematical comprehension

The children’s natural curiosity and thirst for knowledge underlie the concept of the Möhrenbande. Small and large topics are always dealt with and viewed from different angles. Two examples illustrate the approach: When we go to the farmer’s strawberry fields, we deal with the growth of strawberries and their cultivation. When we cook these strawberries inro jam, we experience physical laws. At the same time, they learn about the preservation of food and experience first-hand how to consume self-made food.
When we build treasure chests with the preschool children, we calculate a construction and material plan together, get the wood from the wood dealer, and if necessary, visit a carpentry shop where the wood is cut. The entire design is in the hands of the children and is accompanied only from the outside. The playful handling of numbers and quantities is an integral party of everyday activities.

2.3.8 Media

In the Möhrenbande media competence means above all making use of media where it can meaningfully support the learning experience. For example, you can almost never experience the hatching of a bird chick live, but the internet offers numerous films. The children can also get to the bottom of the technology, as they have the tools and the equipment at their disposal under guidance. In addition to the purely practical mastering the power switch and the volume control, it is also about healthy handling of media. The accompaniment of adults if indispensable at kindergarten age, as the children are often not able to estimate to what extent the concrete use is good for them (e.g. if an audio book suddenly becomes too exiting, not every child manages to leave the room or switch it off). Children’s media competence, e.g. portfolio, introduction to children’s possibilities of media use (camera, CD player etc.) is a goal of media education.

2.3.9 Road safety education

In the inner-city context, children are constantly exposed to road traffic. Developing a fundamental sovereignty as early as kindergarten age is vital for survival. In particular, the preschool children should be prepared for their way to school. The Möhrenbande moves around a lot in the city. This results in many opportunities to communicate and practice the rules of the road with children. The role model of adults and older children plays a decisive role in learning a safe behaviour on the road but also in buses and subways and trains. A reasonable use of vehicles (tricycles, balance bikes and bicycles) is also constantly practices. For children from the age of five, there is an annual bicycle project in which they can learn theoretical and practical content and acquire a bicycle driving license.

2.3.10 Intergenerational life

Because of the cooperation with the Theodor-Fliedner-Heim, the children have the chance to learn from each other and to live together in coexistence of young and old with its habitants. Joint music or singing circles, reading hours, fairy tale projects, game meetings, planting campaigns, birthday visits, celebrations and much more lead to a lively exchange between the very young, the older and the very old. These encounters are certainly based on a pedagogical approach, but first and foremost they are about a reawakening of the self-evident fact that different generations can enrich, complement and delight each other.

2.4 Participation

2.4.1 Legal basis

The rights to the participation of children can be found at international level in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, November 1989. Article 12 states that every child who is able to form his or her own opinion has the right to express that opinion freely in all matters affecting him or her. The child’s opinion is appropriate and must be considered according to his or her age and maturity. For us, participation is a supporting pillar for the quality development of education and care. All adults and children in the Möhrenbande have the right to actively influence the design of the environment around them and to express their needs and thoughts. Participation runs as a fundamental pedagogical principle and lived culture through the everyday life of the Möhrenbande. All adults and children are being considered with their ideas. They are using their influence and experience basic principles of democracy. We regularly evaluate our pedagogical concept regarding participation.

2.4.2 Participation and Promotion of Democracy

All adults working in the Möhrenbande take responsibility for themselves to be available to the children as constant contact persons for complaints, questions and problem solutions. Here we pay attention to a dialogical process with the children, which encourages them to perceive, test and consolidate their self-efficacy. On a weekly basis the carrot mail (“Möhrenpost”; via e-mail) is sent to all parents. It contains a weekly schedule and informs the families about current topics and dates. Furthermore, a monthly parents’ evening takes place in the premises of the kindergarten or via Zoom. The aim is to facilitate a plenum for all topics and day-care-related points, as well as to give space for questions and complaints. Also, we review the past month and relevant topics are discussed for the following month.

As explained in detail in section 2.6.1, the acclimatisation happens dialogically and in agreement as an educational partnership with the parents. As part of the process, we always consider the pace and individuality of the child. By building trust and security in the new environment, the children can feel comfortable, quickly connect and constantly develop. By means of targeted design of the individual rooms and the provision of various sensual and complex experiences, we succeed in challenging and supporting the educational processes of the individual children. All materials in the Möhrenbande are freely accessible and clearly visible to the children by arrangement (exclusive tools, carving knives or similar).

We regularly let the children take over the morning circle or certain elements (e.g., counting children, game selection or moderation) and prepare them individually if necessary. Again and again „wish days“ are taking place, where the children can freely choose where they play and with whom. With responsible and extensive preparation and follow-up, we take part in peaceful demonstrations, such as Fridays for Future. We show them ways to deal democratically with society and how to incorporate their influence into the decision-making processes, taking into account the underlying rules and structures. After lunch, a child always calls on the individual tables to be cleared, which makes it possible to experience a collective responsibility within a group as an example. By offering an open breakfast, the children can decide for themselves with whom and when (7:30-9:00 am) they have breakfast. In general, we usually let the children themselves be the problem solvers and accompany them as much as necessary – as little as possible.

2.4.3 Active participation challenges and promotes us all

An adequate involvement and participation of the children, considering age-appropriate and individual abilities, correspond to the conceptual orientation of the Möhrenbande. All adults – especially the parents and the educational team – are always role models. In order for participation to succeed, all relevant adults are required to participate competently and actively. This intensive cooperation means both a lot of freedom and creative possibilities as well as a high amount of individual responsibility. This also includes setting boundaries and making adequate decisions for children and adults. Through the cooperation between all adults and children involved, the living environments interlock. The role of the institution Kita is thus clearly defined, and the Möhrenbande becomes a piece of (pluralistic) home for everyone.

2.4.4 Complaint Management

The children’s’ possibility to bring in complaints is kept as low-threshold as possible. In the daily morning circles, but also in small group discussions, they are encouraged to express their opinions freely and to formulate complaints about general, but also personal concerns in an appropriate manner. The pedagogical staff respects the children’s feelings and takes criticism and complaints seriously. Through possible changes in the behaviour of adults after a complaint, or a large group discussion on the topic, the children experience self-efficacy and receive individual help as needed. Channels of communication of parental complaints can be found in paragraph 3.6.

2.5 Language promotion integrated into everyday life

§ 13 SGB VIII (Sozialgesetzbuch 8) Para. 6

The fulfilment of the educational mission includes the continuous promotion of the child’s language development within the meaning of § 22 para. 3 SGB VIII. […]. If a child does not have German language skills to the extent customary in his or her age, the day care centre must ensure that he or she receives additional language support.

The pedagogical professionals are familiar with the linguistic foundations of language acquisition (phonetics and phonology, semantics and prosody, morphology and syntax). They also have knowledge of the language acquisition of children in the pre-school sector. Based on this scientific background, they strive to consciously implement these theoretical structures of language development in everyday life. With the entry into the kindergarten, the communication possibilities of a child greatly expand. Parents and educators are important role models. Over time, other children in the group become increasingly important. With the desire to communicate with others using different language skills, communication processes are becoming increasingly complex and linguistic differentiation is therefore becoming increasingly important. Age-appropriate language skills already develop in pre-school education and correlate significantly with the children’s later educational opportunities. A fundamental prerequisite for successful language development is a secure attachment and a relationship with the child characterized by trust. The various cultural resources of the children are becoming visible and audible in the facility, for example by different topics of books, songs and games in different languages.

We welcome parents and employees bringing multiculturalism and this cultural wealth. The development of the children is subject at a meeting between the pedagogical staff and the parents, which takes place at least once a year. Here, the areas relating to language education and the child’s language skills are also examined.

The employees pay close attention to the communication between children and are always linguistic role models in every interaction. When communicating with them, we always go at eye level, let them speak, rarely ask just yes/no questions, encourage them to ask questions, express feelings and implement a completely language-stimulating environment. Activities and actions that the employees carry out are accompanied linguistically. In the case of incorrect words and sentences, we give intuitive corrective feedback and repeat or mirror the words and sentences correctly (instead of criticizing them). The children are often motivated to speak. Playful methods promote concentration and the joy of speaking. In the context of singing games, finger games, movement and role plays, the children experience many opportunities to grow in their language development and to constantly expand their (active and passive) vocabulary. In finger games, e.g., linguistic, sensorimotor and social skills are promoted. Children can playfully remember the words through the rhyme form in songs, orientate themselves well through rhythm and listen to the sound of the language. An important component of everyday integrated language education consists of elements of literacy. Looking at picture books together, discussing them dialogically and reading aloud takes place daily in everyday life. In particular, children’s books in rhyme form encourage the children to talk and repeat and often after a short time they can „read“ these books themselves to the other children.

Whether while eating or interacting with strangers in public: Through a healthy degree of self-confidence in themselves (self-efficacy) and a previous acquisition of communicative skills, the children learn to stand up for themselves, to show their own limits, to adequately establish and preserve their integrity.

2.5.1 Dealing with the need for support in the event of language deficits

In the event of developmental delays or deficits in the child’s language competence, the parents are informed in good time and further measures are taken dialogically. A clarification of medical causes is advised to the parents in each case. Targeted language support apart from everyday language support is relevant if children have deficits in language comprehension and/or language expression during their development. Here, the top priority is to support the child with the help of targeted linguistic interaction in order to compensate for the deficits. Child-friendly language support includes methods and offers that bring the children up to the linguistic level of development of their peers. By using appropriate means and methods in dealing with the child, deficient areas of competence are explicitly addressed and promoted. In some cases, however, these children also need targeted language support from speech therapists.

2.5.2 Observation and documentation procedures

We actively observe the children again and again, note important observations and talk to others (collegial exchange). Furthermore, the language education of the children is systematically recorded within the framework of the developmental sheets and classified in accordance with development. Each child also has their own portfolio folder, which contains various works, photos and other development indicators of the children. Of course, (on request) the children have free access to the portfolio folders, which are constantly filled or expanded as part of separate projects. This joint consideration of one’s own biography work also regularly leads to stimulating speaking situations and dialogical reflection of one’s own experiences among the children and with the pedagogical specialists. The basis of our pedagogical work is very complex and offers new language exploration.

2.6 Individual promotion and support of the children

Every child in the Möhrenbande gets the chance to develop within the framework of his/her age, his/her abilities and individual biographical circumstances. We pay special attention to the transitions.

The transition from the parental home or the childminder to the kindergarten, the transition from a Möhren-child (age under 3) to a Karotten-child (age over 3) and a preparation of the transition from kindergarten to school imply significant importance. The whole process is designed together with the children and parents.

2.6.1 Our work with children under the age of 3

The perception of the younger children’s needs for structures, safety and rituals is of great importance. This is reflected in a system of fixed caregivers, the fixed core group, everyday rituals and the safety of their own rooms reserved only for them, which form a personal shelter for them. The acclimatisation concept is based on the Berlin model and fulfil the individual needs of the child and the possibilities and time resources of the family in close cooperation with the parents.

A wide and age-appropriate range of materials, as well as enough space, equipment and places for climbing, romping and cuddling are available to the children. There are singing and sitting circles with and without the older children, so that the little ones are actively involved in everyday life. They can also develop their living environments in their own sanctuaries with the attention of the specialists they are familiar with. In the partially open concept, there are a variety of possibilities for the children under three to gain experience among their core group but also in exchange with the older children. The learning processes that these mixed-age, cross-group activities entail include an experience and learning of a wide variety of social behaviours such as consideration, a sense of responsibility and tolerance for all children. Depending on the pedagogical possibilities and the specific group structure, children under the age of three also take part in excursions or make their own excursions.

The educational areas described above, are integrated into everyday life in a way that is especially suitable for small children and thus lay the foundation for further development. The individual sleep needs and levels of development when eating are included as far as possible in the daily routines.

2.6.2 The three-year-old children

With the third birthday, or the new kindergarten year after the third birthday, new possibilities are opening up. They gain new freedoms (free choice of space in the context of the partially open concept, participation in swimming and day trips, etc.) and are given small tasks (setting the tables, gardening, etc.). They no longer belong to the „little ones“. The urge and consciousness awakening at this age to „grow up“, to have responsibility and to be allowed to do things alone is taken into account here. In addition, for many children, being four or five years in kindergarten is a long period of time. The main goal here is that they are offered new worlds of experience at certain times.

2.6.3 The „middle children“

With the fourth birthday, the participation in the annual trip and in the autumn overnight stay also open up new chances of experience and challenges for the middle children, which meet their need for exploration.

2.6.4 Pre-schoolers

In the Möhrenbande, it is important for us to accompany the preschool children on their way to school enrolment. It is not primarily about preschool lessons, but about a sovereignty of life, a healthy self-confidence, a training of the ability to concentrate, an enthusiasm for learning and the experience of internalizing the world through one’s own experience. In concrete terms, this means that our preschool program contains a lot of project work, which includes a combination of experience, self-doing and theoretical knowledge transfer. The perception of oneself as a self-sufficient individual and part of a social community is promoted by various offers. In particular, children with special needs are specifically supported and, if possible, in consultation with the parents, supportive therapeutic offers are added to the everyday support in the kindergarten.

2.6.5 Inclusion – Perceiving heterogeneity as normality

Since its foundation, the Möhrenbande has been working inclusively. For both children with and without disabilities, inclusion is a great opportunity to broaden their perspectives. For us, inclusion is not only a specific component of the pedagogical concept, but also accompanies us in all pedagogical areas and is an intrinsic part of our attitude to being human. It follows that we work solution-oriented and create opportunities for all people. Children, parents and staff. E.g., the cooperation with the neighbouring Theodor-Fliedner-Heim, the intercultural composition of the team and the families, the inclusive work with children with disabilities that has taken place from the very beginning are examples of this. Since inclusion does not only mean living together in the same rooms, the everyday offers also consist of activities in which each individual child can deepen and intensify his or her special abilities and strengths. In this way, children with disabilities bring their own talents with them and can prove themselves here.

The cooperation with the parents and the Early Intervention Centre (Frühförderstelle) is particularly important for the work with these children. Also, additional specialist hours for inclusion are provided within the framework of the LWL funding, so that there is also time and space for special curative education offers.

The support and participation plans are developed by the inclusion specialist, accompanied by the parents and discussed together with the team and implemented in everyday life. A regular review takes place on one hand for the inclusion specialist with the involvement of the team and on the other hand as part of the quality management tool PQ-Sys (see section 4.).

Whenever possible, therapeutic offers (hearing support, early intervention, speech therapy, psychomotor gymnastics, etc.) are taking place integrated into everyday life in the facility. Thus, there are no additional therapy appointments for the child and the family and the support can sometimes also take place in group events or in small groups. The infrastructure of the premises is barrier-free within the framework of the structural and financial possibilities. Various architectural elements have also been planned regarding different forms of impairment. The expert advice of the parity and the LWL are used as needed.

2.6.6 Diversity and gender

In the Möhrenbande, all children and all adults have the right to develop free from individual or structural discrimination or overt or covert disadvantage in an atmosphere of community, fairness and respect. Skin colour, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin or disability are characteristics of diversity in community and never cause for devaluation or exclusion. Accordingly, the toys, books and other material used are characterized by a normality of diversity. The offers and projects described in 2.3.5 and 2.3.6 contribute to the fact, that all topics and questions concerning the children are finding space and aspects of diversity and are constantly incorporated into the day-to-day life of the kindergarten. Topics such as the religions of the world, poverty and wealth, family concepts and children’s rights are recurring offers that make every child an offer of identification. In conceptual sessions, the team regularly reflects on its own attitude and pedagogical actions.

2.6.7 Development Documentation

In the Möhrenbande, the children are not only accompanied in their everyday life, but also a documentation of their development is created. This includes portfolio folders in which pictures, photos and design work are stored. These folders promote a self-education process in the children, as their own developmental steps are continuously observable. In addition, an observation of the child takes place in a free and structured form on the basis of the Gelsenkirchen observation sheet and the BaSiK sheet (language development documentation) as well as with the help of various observation instruments. These observations form the basis for the annual parent meetings, in which the pedagogical staff and the parents are in active exchange and look together at how the individual child develops, whether he/she needs support, and what a cooperation between the parental home and the kindergarten should look like. Supplementary discussions, which are considered important by parents or pedagogical staff on a case-by-case basis, are possible at any time by appointment.

3. Cooperation with the sponsor – parental cooperation

The supporting association of the Möhrenbande is managed by the parents. Parents have developed the pedagogical concept together with the pedagogical staff. They are seeing themselves as responsible for supporting the institution in its organizational and pedagogical work together with the pedagogical specialists. The parents’ collaboration is mandatory and offers the opportunity to contribute their interests, wishes and abilities. Likewise, in the context of parents‘ evenings and individual discussions, there is always room to express complaints and criticism to then look for constructive solutions or compromises together with those involved. It is important to us to perceive and appreciate every person in the Möhrenbande (child, parent, team) in his/her abilities, to enable him/her to enjoy life and to shape our bonds in common togetherness. We believe that it is a special gift for the children to experience their parents as committed, socially responsible and fun-loving people.

3.1 Organizational tasks, tasks in the association

The parents are involved in various working groups. For example, in the festival group (Christmas party, summer party, Easter, St. Martin etc.), concept group, introductory group for the new families, garden group, etc. These groups are set up according to the current needs of the institution and carried out in cooperation with the pedagogical team. As members of the Möhrenbande, each family is assuming at least one parental job/ parental service.

3.2 Parental Services

The parental services are very diverse and can be roughly divided into organizational, craft and pedagogical services. The pedagogical parent services include supporting the pedagogical team once a month for excursions or swimming for a few hours in a certain period of time as part of the day-to-day life of the day-care centre. Furthermore, organizational and craft parental services are to be staffed, such as maintenance managers for the premises and the outdoor area, drugstore buyers, etc. Voluntary, supplementary support is always welcome in consultation with the educational team.

3.3 Parental Offices

The board of directors and the parents‘ council are elected offices. These parents represent the sponsoring association and the interests of all parents. Together with the management and team members, these committees form the council of the day care center and organize the day-to-day life from the background at regular meetings. Further details are regulated by the articles of the association.

3.4 Parents‘ Evening

Once a month there is a mandatory parents‘ evening. Contents are pedagogical topics and reports of the team from everyday life, as well as organizational questions. If necessary, the parents‘ evening is divided into group-internal and cross-group settings. The dates for the parents‘ evenings are set at the beginning of every kindergarten year for the following year.

3.5 Crisis management

In special situations such as accidents, staff shortages, occurrence of reportable illnesses, questions of child welfare risks or the like, the communication channels listed under 3.6 apply and, if necessary, extraordinary meetings are scheduled.

3.6 Complaint management

In principle, all communication channels under 3.7 are available for parents to exercise their right to complain and have a say. The parents‘ council, elected by the parents guarantees the parents a representation of their interests. Topics of parents can be brought in at any time at parents‘ evenings and will be discussed seriously there.

3.7 Communication

Communication between parents, pedagogical professionals and the committees of the institution is carried out by:

  • Monthly parents‘ evenings (if required on digital as an online conference)
  • Annual General Assembly
  • Regular meetings of the committees
  • Weekly information by sending an e-mail to club mailing list (Möhrenpost)
  • Communication via text messenger (Signal)
  • Impromptu doorway discussions / feedback
  • Annual parent meetings on the development of the child
  • Additional parent discussions that can be scheduled and if necessary, all insitutational parties can be involved.


4. Quality assurance

Quality assurance is carried out with the help of the PQ-Sys tool from the Paritätischer Wohlfahrtsverband.

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