Our kindergarten accepts children from the age of three up until they are old enough to start first grade. Here, too, we focus on multilingual capability. The conceptual orientation and pedagogical position build on the basic principles underlying the Le Jardin nurseries. In line with primary school requirements, including those of the European and international schools, we prepare the children for the transition to school.
When children set out from home and enter our facilities, it is often the first time that they experience an extended separation. And even if the child has already been in the care of a nursery or a child minder, the changes they undergo in a new setting are considerable:
- The rooms are unfamiliar, and their size and furnishings alone are exciting.
- The child must establish a relationship with an unfamiliar caregiver.
- The child is also unaccustomed to being together with many new children of different ages.
- A change of roles occurs: in the new group the child who was “big” suddenly becomes “little”.
- The child encounters a new daily rhythm.
At the start of the acclimation phase, we assign a principal caregiver to accompany the child continuously.
We work together with parents to shape the acclimation phase as carefully as possible, whereby we always focus on the needs of the child.
In a preparatory discussion with the parents about the acclimation phase, we establish agreements in order to promote transparency and to create a foundation based on trust.
A three-day initial phase helps to gauge the acclimation process and facilitates the planning of reasonable additional steps.
Next we examine the current events of the day, whereby we always focus on the needs of the child. Moreover, our daily exchange with parents plays a very important role for us, so that a spirit of partnership can evolve.
Together with the child’s caregiver and peer group, as well as the conditions of the rooms, a structured daily routine with rituals provides orientation for the children and their families.
For children, a daily repeating routine – but in combination with latitude for individual adjustments – is of crucial importance. A structured routine gives them a feeling of security and control. The daily transitions (e.g. the relocation from the group room to the garden) are key moments in which the children acquire skills for handling changes and mastering new situations. Repetitive routines facilitate this. Because the processes are familiar and predictable, the children can participate actively and autonomously in the course of events.
- Permanent features of the daily routine include, for example:
- Arrival in a group
- Morning circle / breakfast
- Activities / free education phase (free play)
- Time in the garden
- School preparation (once per week English/German/French)
- Sleep and rest period
- Snack (out in the garden when the weather is nice)
In order to make the daily arrival in the morning easier for the child and the parents, the pedagogical staff create a cozy and inviting atmosphere by preparing the room and warmly welcoming each family. An open, buffet-style breakfast is provided in parallel to free play. The children learn to assess their own needs, thereby developing their autonomy. The shared morning circle marks the end of the morning drop-off period.
The importance of play
Playing is learning – play is education
We believe that it is important for all children to have enough time for free play. They can choose freely from a selection of toys and play materials available to them. While playing, the children engage with their environment in an active and relaxed way, thereby gaining their own personal experience. This gives them an elementary basis for their future education (concentration ability, logical thinking, creativity, autonomy, frustration tolerance, etc.). The childish play creates ideal conditions for successful learning processes in all areas of early education.
The children acquire knowledge about themselves (self-discovery, personality development, getting to know their own capabilities and limits). They expand their social and language skills and gain knowledge about materials and how they work.
During role play, they process their experiences, thereby strengthening their ability to master everyday challenges. Play is extremely important to us and holds a high value in our everyday routine. We have a genuine interest in the concept of education through play, and this is how we guide the children’s learning processes.
In the everyday routine, we offer the children activities in the different education areas, whereby the children have the opportunity to choose. The organization of the activities always starts with the interests of the children.
Preparation for school
Throughout their kindergarten years, the children’s skills are honed individually and in all areas of instruction. The encouragement of core capabilities is a precondition for the development of an autonomous personality that actively engages in life. Such personality development is the starting point for enabling lifelong learning and full participation in society.
Alongside the cooperation between parental home and kindergarten, we also seek to collaborate with the child’s future school: both actions facilitate the future pupil’s smooth transition to school.
The main focus here follows the education plan of the State of Hessen
- Strong children (emotionality, social relationships and conflicts, health, movement and sports, life practice)
- Communicative and media-competent children (language and literacy, media)
- Creative, imaginative and artistic children (visual and performing arts, music and dance)
- Learning and inquisitive children who take pleasure in discovering new things (mathematics, natural sciences, technology)
In order also to have enough time to anchor this extensive offering in our everyday routine, the last year of kindergarten also includes a “preschool” curriculum in both German and another language.
Le Jardin considers this offering as the bundling and intensification of preschool work already performed, rather than as an extra offering in the sense of an additional service not previously provided.
Eating is more than merely filling one’s stomach: shared meals during the daily pedagogical routine are key educational situations of great importance. Le Jardin takes care to provide an extremely healthy, varied, well-balanced diet. In addition, we take into account the food allergies and nutritional intolerances of any children affected by them.
We know it is very important that the child builds a positive relationship with eating and does not feel forced to eat. Pleasure and attentiveness are values that we want to transmit in the context of eating. We feel that it is important for the children to develop a sense for what they need. They learn to gauge their sense of hunger, thirst or being full. At mealtime we pay special attention to our role model effect and always eat together with the children. Shared meals represent both ritual and routine for the children, and provide a sense of security in the daily course of events. In addition, shared meals promote social cohesion and stimulate exchange within the group.
Sleep and rest periods
In their everyday routine, children need periods of calm and relaxation.
Children’s need for sleep differs widely according to age and personality. Fixed sleep and rest periods offer children a chance to slow and help to structure their day. We believe that it is important to accommodate and respect individual sleep requirements.
Regarding any change in a child’s sleeping situation, our staff stays in close contact with her parents. This enables us to ensure active participation in managing the transitions of the child’s evolving sleep rhythm.
We provide quiet times so the children can balance out their active morning. We also provide rest and quiet areas for the older children to use according to their own needs.