Implementation of the 7 Learning Areas
The ‘Kindergaten Lilolei e.V.’ follows the ‚Berliner Bildungsprogramm‘. In 2003, the Berliner educational program was developed in order to priorities the education and support of the children, and to provide the education with a professional framework. The main goal is to enable the children to transition from kindergarten to school smoothly. The Berliner educational program identifies 7 learning areas: The Body, Movement and Health; Social and Cultural Environment; Communication: Languages, Literacy and Media; Fine Arts; Music; Fundamental Mathematics; and Fundamental Questions in Science and Technology. We see these the Berliner educational program as the core of our work in the kindergarten and relate the learning objectives for the children back to it. There are many good pedagogical guidelines, concepts and educational curricular. Especially because we are surrounded by such diversity, we work with each child based on their individual circumstances and needs.
The Body, Movement and Health
Children perceive their environment through their senses. Through movement they explore special relations, learn to organize their impressions and gather personal experiences. Certain movements support the children’s development of language skills, concentration, endurance and muscles. Before a child can speak, it uses body movements to express itself. In our work with the children we have to create space for them to move, experience a range of activities and the stimulation of all their senses. Every child develops at a different rate. It is not important when a child learns to walk, role or ride a bike, but rather that the child was allowed to master the skill on their own. We support and motivate the children in their independent development by helping them to develop trust and creating a safe environment in which the children can try out new skills. Movement education with music supports a holistic development.
We provide the children with possibilities to be active during our daily walks and the weekly yoga and swimming lessons. The children can develop their fundamental movement skills, experience the joy when being active in a group and experience their own possibilities. We ensure a healthy diet by providing the children with fresh fruit that they can access at any time during the day and a weekly lunch menu that is rich in variety. The children bring their own breakfast and the afternoon snack. The educators monitor the children’s snack boxes to ensure that they are filled with healthy and balanced food. A catering service supplies the lunch. When ordering the food, we ensure that the children have a diverse menu. Of course, we also cater for children who eat a vegetarian diet, have food allergies or other dietary requirements. Together with the parents it was decided that the children are not allowed to bring any sweets to the kindergarten. Once a year, on a parent evening, the head of the kindergarten informs the parents about healthy eating guidelines. During the day, the children can help themselves to some fruit from a plate. After lunch, the children are provided with a fresh fruit and vegetable platter. The educators eat their breakfast and lunch together with the children. The children have access to water and unsweetened tea at all times.
We visit nearby markets in order to introduce the children to healthy foods. Furthermore, we have a sport/movement room in which the children can develop their gross-motor and their sensory processing skills. Among others, we provide the following equipment: a climbing wall, trampoline, tricycle, Bobby Cars, and a balancing bench.
Social and Cultural Environment
When entering kindergarten, it is the first time that the children are confronted with a new environment. As a result, social processes are vital for the children’s learning processes. We create and broaden a social and cultural network for the children and their families, which is built on the child’s existing culture and environment. Through mutual respect and tolerance, the children get to know and learn to value other cultures, customs, traditions and above all diversity. We strive to integrate these values into our daily routine and support the children in orienting themselves in the world.
Communication: Languages, Literacy and Media
Every Learning area requires the use of language. Children are growing up in a world full of media and information. Therefore we try to give the children the possibility to expand their communication tools. Multilingualism is used as a resource for learning processes. Our goal is to enable the children to increase their vocabulary. This includes their ability to express feelings and needs verbally. We carefully detect language difficulties and inform the children’s guardians about them. Language deficits are identified through assessing the literacy skills. Children should enjoy talking. We use a variety of strategies such as group conversations in the morning circle, finger and movement games, learning poems, Show & Tell, regular and shared reading, to encourage the children to talk. Twice a week, the older children have a pre-school lesson in which they learn to recognize letters and numbers (as you can see from the room decoration); make their first attempts at ‘writing’ and much more. Furthermore, the children have access to the reading corner at all times and ‘literacy’ is integrated into our daily routine, during the children’s quiet time. Literacy describes the child’s experiences with the world of books. Literacy education is very important for the children’s development. Reading scaffolds the children’s social-emotional, linguistic and cognitive development. It allows the children to improve their listening skills, their vocabulary, their ability to recognize sentence structures and melody and therefore express themselves and communicate adequately; their ability to understand and reflect on the meaning of texts; etc. We support these through the questions we discuss with the children during these reading times. Through the rhythmic use of language, nursery rhymes and songs aid the children in the process of adopting sentence patterns into their own language. The children show a strong interest in German as well as English books and enjoy literacy education every day.
Children are artists who create their environment in their own way and style. Through early encouragement even small children can engage in artistic activities. Small children, who cannot yet talk, use pictures to communicate. The children become lost in their imagination when they are engaged in artistic activities and are no longer aware of their surroundings in that moment. The child processes what it has experienced and communicates the pictures how it perceived them. Children find joy and fun in creating pieces of art and regard their finished products with great pride. We support the children by providing them with a wide range of materials to experiment with. The children learn about colours, shapes and different materials. The Kita ‘Lilolei’ has an atelier, which is used for different projects. The children can access all materials freely.
Being exposed to music challenges and supports the development of a child’s personality. Children approach music openly and with great interest. They find great joy in learning new songs and using their self-made instruments. In their first years, children already develop an understanding of the basic components that music is made up of: pitch, sound, rhythm and melody. Depending on their cultural background children their understanding is shaped differently. Music, communal singing, movement education and creating music support a holistic development. Engaging with music through singing, rhyming and dancing is a vital prat of our daily and weekly routine, especially during the children’s yoga lesson. Musical instruments and music (cd-player) are freely accessible to the children at all times.
Mathematical understanding is an important part of life. By exposing the children to Mathematics from an early age aids them in developing basic mathematical understandings. They learn to let go of concrete materials and use abstract mathematical terminology. We created a specific pedagogical frame within the weekly plan. During pre-school, the children are exposed to numeracy through going shopping (counting money), counting games, board games, etc. Furthermore, the children learn to recognize and name numbers, which is supported during the pre-school lessons. Above all, Mathematics supports the development of logical thinking.
Fundamental questions in Science and Technology
Many “Why-Questions” of a child are based on scientific technological phenomena. Children observe, describe, compare and judge their world and perceive it this way. Out in nature, children learn about scientific connections and conduct experiments. The research the world in their own way. As a result, they have early childhood experiences with basic science and Mathematics. We support this by conducting a range of experiments with the children. We provide as much space and time as possible for the children to give in to their urge to explore. The main point is that the children are active and participate constructively in the learning processes together with the educators. Furthermore, we integrate the living world, by encouraging the children’s interest and seek to encounter animals in nature.