From A to Z
12 Hours of Duties
Each parent (except for executive board members and their partners) has to commit at least 12 hours per year to the kindergarten, for example by carrying out repairs or maintenance work or by helping with construction or renovation projects. There are also recurring tasks (such as washing towels, taking care of toys or maintaining first aid kits). Parents are also responsible for organising the annual flea market, the lantern celebration and the summer party.
At the annual parent assembly, the parents’ board members inform the other parents about their areas of responsibility. Moreover, all members of the association can make suggestions, ask questions and exchange opinions.
Award of the federal association of parent-led initiatives, Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Elternintiativen e.V.: BAGE-seal.
For our carnival party we decorate the main play room according to a specific theme. The children may dress up if they want and enjoy games and celebrations.
Once a month all children convene for their assembly, in which they draw up rules which apply to the whole kindergarten. They can also take the chance and tell the others what they like or dislike. This way they learn how to express themselves in an increasingly independent manner. This form of conflict mediation helps the children to become good team players and conflict managers.
Parents take weekly turns cleaning their children’s group’s room. Each group devises a schedule to organise the cleaning.
Please find our pedagogic concept here.
After a period of free play in the mornings, at which time all the children arrive, each group has breakfast in their room. Afterwards, during garden time, the children go outside to play every day. After lunch the children can take a rest or play again in the garden if they are not tired. In the afternoon the children have a snack before they are picked up by their parents. In addition, there are different activities every day, such as sports, rhythmics, whole-kindergarten activities or excursions.
Democracy and Participation
The innovative character and dynamic of the kindergarten relies on the democratic principle. All parents are members of the association and all of them may shape the pedagogic concept according to their views. There are annual assemblies, monthly parents’ evenings, and ongoing talks between parents and staff, enabling discussions and new ideas. As the parents find it extremely important to be able to shape the kindergarten’s pedagogy, they are willing to make active contributions. For the children it is equally important that their parents form part of their day-to-day life at kindergarten.
Emotions are important and need to be released. Children are allowed to be angry and have arguments with one another. We accept their feelings and show them how to deal with conflicts in a constructive way. We support them finding a joint solution by means of role play or by talking to them.
In their first year starting with Easter vacation, the children begin to go on excursions in the urban jungle: At first there are short outings to the park’s playground. At a later stage we take the children to the museum, the theatre, the Isar (Munich river), sledding or to the Botanical Garden. The preschool children even spend a couple of days at a farm.
Upon approval by our staff, members can use our premises for private parties, such as children’s birthday parties.
Fees depend on the booking period. The core period lasts from 9 am to 4 pm and currently costs 361 € per month (you may request a youth-welfare allowance at Sozialbürgerhaus). In addition, a one-off admission fee is payable in the amount of one monthly fee. If you have siblings, the fee for the younger sibling is reduced to 75%. Costs for food and materials amount to around 65-80 € per month.
Each group commissions a caterer of its choice to provide lunch.
Free Play, Activites, and Guided Play
Children are eager to grow up and learn. In doing so, they develop an awareness of their body, their mind and ethics. At our kindergarten, the children can make up their own games or take part in the various activities offered by our professional teachers (whole-kindergarten activities or excursions). By choosing their own activities, the children experience the world as a whole and learn mainly by action and experience. No matter whether the children are at the theatre, learning foreign languages, doing rhythmics or sports – all is play, effortless learning and a lot of fun.
Our garden is wild, adventure-filled and „dangerous“. Between climbing trees, wooden houses and thick bushes the children are allowed to change the function of their outdoor environment. They construct buildings, plant flowers, collect woodlice, cook mud soup and move mountains. We regard it as an important safeguard against accidents to allow children access to „dangerous environments“. This allows them to learn to deal with the risks of daily life sensibly.
The children go outside into the garden to play and run around even if the weather is bad. Therefore, weather-proof clothing is essential.
Our five kindergarten groups are small (seven girls and seven boys each) and composed of children of a similar age. We make sure that the children can stay together as a group until they go to school, so we accept children who turn three before September in line with the schools’ admission requirements. This way stable friendships can be formed beyond kindergarten. Each group is led by one teacher and one assistant, ensuring a close and trusting relationship between the children and teachers.
Our holidays correspond to the Bavarian school holidays. Starting from the second year on at kindergarten, the children are allowed to visit the kindergarten’s holiday programme intended to help working parents. During the summer, the kindergarten is closed for a three-week period.
At our annual information evening in January we present our house and concept as well as answer questions and show parents around. Afterwards parents can register for a personal admission interview.
In November we have our lantern celebration. We take a walk across the park carrying lanterns, make a campfire, eat twist-bread (a German speciality) and (the grown-ups) drink spiced wine.
The parents become members of the association upon signing the contract. The member’s assembly is held once a year (or more often if required) at the kindergarten.
The kindergarten’s opening hours are Monday to Thursday from 9 am to 4 pm. In addition, starting from second year children can attend the early shift (Frühdienst) from 8 am (Mo-Fr) and the late shift (Spätdienst) until 5pm (Mo-Thu). On Fridays the kindergarten closes at 1 pm for all children.
The parents are responsible for large parts of the kindergarten’s administration and organisation. Each group elects one parent to take over one of the required areas of responsibility: finance, external funding, contributions, staff, as well as building and grounds.
At monthly parents’ evenings the teachers inform the parents about their children’s life at kindergarten, what is going on in the group, upcoming projects, the children’s development and special events. Parents are welcome to ask questions and make suggestions.
In rare cases of extreme staff shortages, parents help supervising their child’s group.
Parents and teachers can meet for talks at any time if required.
Each group has its own separate room with its own access to the garden including a porch where the children can eat outside in summer. All children may use the play room (where they can play and do sports), the rhythmics room, the library and the large garden surrounding the entire kindergarten. There is enough room, time, and material for the children to explore, learn, and play on their own or together with others.
Once a week Geny Ramos da Silva Lochner and Carola Dünßer of Institut Rhythmikon München visit the kindergarten and teach the children in small groups of up to seven children. The rhythmics lesson is all about movement (physical, mental and emotional) and music. For more information visit www.rhythmikon.de.
All the children start kindergarten with a settling-in period depending on their individual needs. When a new group is formed, the children do not all start kindergarten at the same time but rather one after the other until the group is complete.
Siblings enjoy preference with regard to admission. The costs for the younger sibling is 75% of the regular rate.
Sleep-Over at Kindergarten
The parents are responsible for breakfast and afternoon snack: Taking turns, for one week each parents bring healthy snacks for all the children of the group, such as fruit and vegetables, bread and granola/cereal. Each group devises a schedule to organise the provision of snacks.
Once a week the groups take full advantage of the play room. Of course the children move around a lot every day, while outside during garden time, running around, riding bicycles and going sledding in the winter.
The parents organise the annual summer party, which may feature a raffle and a bouncy castle, crafts and playing, food, drinks and much more.
There are no sweets available at kindergarten – except for birthday parties and other celebrations.
Each group is led by a trained teacher, who acts as the children’s contact person, establishing a trustful relationship with the children and fostering them over the course of their entire time at kindergarten.
Once a week all children starting from the second year on take part in whole-kindergarten activities. The children can choose between various activities, such as crafts, playing, or sports, for which they leave their own group to mingle with children and teachers from other groups. This way they get to know children from other groups much better and move around the kindergarten more independently.