Statutory basis and pedagogical guidelines for our work

Our work is based on the following statutory guidelines:

  • The Bavarian Law on the Education and Care of Young Children (Bayerisches Kinderbildungs- und Betreuungsgesetz: BayKiBiG)
  • The Regulation on Execution of the Bavarian Law on the Education and Care of Young Children (Verordnung zur Ausführung des Bayerischen Kinderbildungs- und Betreuungsgesetzes: AVBayKiBiG)
  • The Bavarian Education and Child Care Plan (Bayerischer Bildungs- und Erziehungsplan: BEP)

Our concept and its orientation

Our concept is oriented towards the theories and teaching methods of:

1. Maria Montessori

2. Jean Piaget

3. Howard Gardner

4. Erik Erikson

5. Situation-oriented approach

1. Maria Montessori

We base our teaching on Maria Montessori, because we pay attention to our children’s needs and we respect and treat them as independent individuals. In so doing we create a “prepared environment“ in which they can act and play according to their needs, capabilities and interests. This is the prerequisite for their development and learning later in life.

Children between up to three years old unconsciously absorb sensory impressions, and between three and six years  they develop reasoning and continue to develop what they have already learned. We assist this process by creating prepared environments in the various learning centers.

For Maria Montessori it was also important to school the senses, because they are the contact points with the surroundings and only by using them a child can develop its intellect. The Montessori materials we provide should be a key that opens the door to the discovery of external things.

2. Jean Piaget

Piaget’s theory is based on cognitive development. He describes how humans are born with two fundamental tendencies, adaptation and organization. Adaptation is the tendancy to the surroundings and it includes two processes: accommodation (changes in personal behavior in order to adapt the conditions in the surroundings) and assimilation (changing the surroundings, in order to adapt it to personal needs, desires, etc.). The second tendency is organization. This involves the integration of personal processes into related systems. Because humans want to live in harmony with themselves and their surroundings. They create a balance through adaptation and assimilation. Piaget defines four major stages in cognitive development of children, which we try to influence positively through our work:

  • Stage: Sensory-motor. The age of children in this stage ranges from newborn to the 2nd year of life. The mail characteristics are the discovery of the relationship between sensory-motor aspects.
  • Stage: Pre-operational. The age of children in this stage ranges from two to seven years old. The main characteristics are the use of symbols to represent objects internally. Language plays a particular role here.

3. Howard Gardner

Mr. Gardner expresses the view that there is no single form of intelligence. From his point of view there are various sorts of intelligence that are independent of each other. This awareness makes it possible to assist each child individually and to concentrate better on its strengths and weaknesses. These areas of intelligence can be broken down as follows:

Linguistic Intelligence: the capability to use language to express thoughts and to reflect, and to understand others when they use language.

  • Musical Intelligence: the ability to compose music and to play music. Developing a feeling for sound, harmony, rhythm and a corresponding ear for music.
  • Logical and Mathematical Intelligence: the capability to draw and understand conclusions and to work with numbers, amounts and mental mathematics.
  • Spatial Intelligence: the ability to recognize spatial relationships and to reform them in the head. Spatial perception.
  • Bodily and Kinesthetic Intelligence: the capability to control and coordinate one’s own body.
  • Intrapersonal Intelligence: the capability to control one’s own impulses and to recognize personal limits.
  • Interpersonal Intelligence: the capability to understand others and to communicate with them with empathy.
  • Existential Intelligence: the capability to observe nature, and to discern and recognize living things.

4. Erik Erikson

We refer to Erikson’s theory and his phases, because one of our goals is that each child gains its own identity. Erikson presents this striving for identity very clearly in his system of phases. We try to influence this development in our work and provide the children in each stage the possibility of positive development.

  • Stage 1: Basic trust vs. basic mistrust (1st year of life: baby): The basic principle for this age group is: I am what others give me! The most important things for children in this phase are body warmth, love, closeness and protection. The most important contact person is the mother. For children who attend a day care center, this person is also the day care teacher. The child must be able to rely totally on this contact person in order to avoid the development of a basic mistrust.
  • Phase 2: Autonomy vs. shame and doubt (2 to 3 year olds): The basic principle for this age group is: I am what I want to be! Children learn in this phase how to use their sphincters and other bodily functions at their own will. They experience a feeling of well-being and power. This is the basis for a feeling of autonomy. Too much supervision during potty-training can lead to feelings of shame and doubt.
  • Stage 3: Initiative vs. feelings of shame (4 and 5 year olds: the age of play): the basic principle for this age group is: I am what I imagine myself to be! In this phase the children become more adept, gain more freedom in their movements, conquer their surroundings on their own initiative, use language skills and develop a sense of providing something useful. If they are unsuccessful they may develop feelings of guilt. Our job is to create a suitable learning environment for children of this age.

5. The situational approach

This approach is marked by the perception that each individual deserves respect, and is based on holistic teaching. The pillars of this approach are:

  • providing the children with a high degree of respect
  • taking current situations into account and dealing with them
  • every day is significant in a child’s development
  • teachers both teach and learn

Our focus here is both on the children with their individual life situations and on the teachers who continually reflect on their own actions. The children can take a leading role in their discovery and behavior. This can only succeed, however, if teachers assist them.

Goals:

Children gather experience on three different levels:

  • Emotional level: (post-) learning from life experiences that affect children
  • Cognitive level: understanding experiences
  • Activity level: possibility to process or change

Holistic experiencing, connecting these three levels, allows the children to understand their current lives and to master every day situations.

Implementation:

Here, we take into consideration the individual experience and experiences of each child. The child thereby acquires its own abilities for coping with life and expands them. It widens its horizons, gains confidence and learns to think and act independently.

Emphasis is also placed on coordinating situations within and outside of kindergarten in order to avoid artificial situations.

A planned approach is however not excluded. Still, the intent is not to plan projects and activities for the children, rather to begin “at the child’s level” and its “life plans” in all we do.

We base our work on these child psychologists, because:

Following Maria Montessori’s motto “Help me to do it myself” we feel that children at any age learn best when they do things themselves. As a consequence, children learn best if they themselves can select their activities, carry them out and reflect on them. The result has a positive effect on the child’s development. We plan learning experiences of the children such that they arouse their interest. Because children up to 2 years of age experience the most important stages of development during this period, we have set up our room concept such that the children always have the opportunity to achieve these developmental steps (build up social relationships, communication, space, discovery of the characteristics of objects, experiencing themselves, comparing and counting, time, movement, investigating objects).