A day in the day-care centre
With a personal greeting and farewell, the early childhood teachers consciously create the situation of being brought and picked up and consider the child's habits and preferences - because the stay in the day-care centre means a separation for children and parents, even if only for a few hours of the day. The individual rituals, such as waving at the window, help the children to get involved in the day's activities at the day-care centre.
Flexible breakfast times enable the children to "arrive" at the day-care centre according to their needs. - This means that children can be brought in at different times and can participate in breakfast until a fixed time agreed with the parents. Parents know their child best and pack the lunch box according to their preferences. The early childhood teachers who accompany breakfast help with pouring beverages, peeling fruit, opening yogurt cups, cans, etc., and help children who are not yet able to have their meals independently.
The morning circle is a ritual in the group community. It serves to set the mood for the day, the week, a special event, or project, or offers the opportunity to process what has been experienced. Everyone can talk and listen in the morning circle and experience community and opportunities for participation. The children can sing, dance, perform music, etc. Some children want to experience the morning circle from a certain distance or sometimes just keep playing.
Learning by playing
The younger a child, the more important is playing as the main driving force of development in all areas of education. Therefore, we pay a lot of attention to it. Games and playing support all areas of development and competence. To play is not a pastime that quickly distracts people from the "actually important things" of everyday life. To play is intrinsic, purposeless, spontaneous and can hardly be stimulated from the outside and it is characterized by alternation of tension and relaxation. Playing is only slightly organized - the more organized it is, the less fun is experienced. Positive emotions predominate when playing. Children do not play to learn; they learn while playing, and deal with the world in which they live imitating and reconstructing it.
Staying outdoors all year round
Even if the weather is not inviting for a swim or it is pouring with rain, the children love to be outside - and (almost) every day! There is so much to discover all year round, e.g., the ants that live on the trunk of a tree, crawling up the branches every day. The very brave ones race the bobby cars down the hill. Occasionally, there is a scraped knee, but after comforting words and band-aid, they move on to the next round. The younger children, who cannot walk or cannot yet walk for long, enjoy watching the action. In the garden, week after week, the children watch the little plants growing bigger and bigger on the beds, slowly bearing fruit, and noticing that they grow much faster than they do. In autumn, when the leaves turn brightly coloured and the wind blows them through the air from the branches and twigs of the trees, the children rake them into a big pile and take a running jump into it. How soft the leaves are and how great they smell! When the pumpkins are ripe, we cook a delicious soup together and carve funny faces into the shell that sparkle at us in the shortening days when a candle burns in the hollowed-out pumpkin. When the first snow falls, we grab the sleds or build a big snowman with a red plasticine carrot nose, stone buttons and an old bucket for a hat. There are always sticks for a broom. As soon as the sun shines warm enough, everything starts to melt and all that is left of the snowman is a puddle. Too bad! But that also means that spring is just around the corner.
The pre-school teachers accompany and support the children in their daily body care until they can do it on their own. We want all children to feel good about caring for their own bodies and to perceive them consciously and with pleasure. Body care is used as a stimulating learning situation, especially for the youngest children. The experience helps children to develop a positive self-image. The toilet, diaper changing, and personal hygiene times are based on the individual needs of the children and the necessity. Regular brushing of teeth is a matter of course (except for the very young children).
Having lunch together in a relaxed and aesthetic atmosphere is important to us. Chats at the table are part of it. We attach great importance to independence, i.e., children are free to choose where they want to sit, fetch their own crockery, set their own place and - according to their abilities - help themselves from the lunch menu. The children are free to decide what and how much they want to eat and drink. Rituals as well as appropriate and cultivated table manners are part of this. We learn together about different foods, spices, herbs, and dishes. The children learn that there are healthy and less healthy "treats". Different eating cultures, intolerances and dislikes are accepted as normal. When handling, cutting, pouring, rattling, the children try out according to their possibilities.
Resting and sleeping
After lunch, our children can rest or sleep. They can use, for example, baskets, upholstered beds, mattresses, or cribs. The teachers arrange the beds according to the different sleeping needs and times, so that all children can sleep in comfortably. After the children have fallen asleep, an educator is within earshot; if necessary, a baby phone is also switched on. Quiet, calm music supports the children as they enter the resting phase. The educators rest along with the children, thus demonstrating that adults do not perform "sleep watch," but also need some rest. Should children not be able to fall asleep or wake up early, they can get up quietly.
Children who need additional rest can also rest or sleep in the morning or in the afternoon.
The separation from and reunion with the family is usually a situation of uncertainty and joy for children at the same time. Every day, the personal state of mind and the current issues of each child are different and therefore the arrival at the day-care centre as well as the pick-up by the parents are associated with different feelings. We consciously arrange this temporary situation by saying goodbye to the child personally. At pick-up time, we make sure that the children can still finish their play and have their toys collected. We inform the parents if there have been significant events in the child's day.