Our concept sees the following priorities in the everyday life of the kindergarten:
- healthy and meaningful exercise
- free play inside and outside
- walking together in nature
- singing, dancing and finger play
- moments of silence when listening to stories
- Moments of movement with dance and music
- cooking, baking, kneading and gardening
In the spirit of the written above, we see great importance in creating an environment which is characterized by meaningful action and meaningful gestures. Having the children experience in actions has the highest priority.
“Tell me, and I’ll forget it.
Show it to me and maybe I’ll keep it.
Let me do it, and I will know it.“ – Confucius
We want to work on creating a shared social and living space, in which authenticity and creativity are complemented by commitment and sustainability. In harmoniously designed rooms, with consciously selected natural toys, we give the children the opportunity to immerse themselves allowing their talents, interests and needs to unfold. In the design of the rooms we pay attention to security, to the inviting forms and to the harmonious effect of the colors.
In the following text we present in more details the core elements of our concept.
In playing, the world is playfully discovered, being learned and imaginarily changed. The play time is given to enable the child to work creatively with his environment. Therefore, all our play materials are as simple and natural as possible, to allow the child’s imagination to develop and transform itself into the world.
The kindergarten should convey the children confidence in their environment and strengthen them in the process of building their inner life.
The free play as a fundamental creative and social learning experience, and as sensory perception, is highly weighted and intensively researched. The play is directed by the children who by this, independently, determine their path of learning and development. However, from the very beginning, guided games, dancing and eurhythmy are also part of the educational offer as a social body and space experience.
“When one plays enough while he is small, he then carries around within him treasures that he can later on draw on from for during a whole lifetime. Then one knows what it means to have inside oneself a warm world that gives strength when life becomes difficult.” – Astrid Lindgren
Through his urge to move, the child gets to know his body, to strengthen it and controls it. To meet and support this impulse, we go outside for daily walking trips. It is about the joy of movement and the playful promotion of physical abilities such as; strength, balance and skill.
Body awareness and body feeling together with coarse and fine motor skills are develop, among other things, when; running, jumping, climbing, balancing, rope skipping, digging and sandcastle building.
Meaningful and purposeful activities such as kneading, baking, cooking, gardening, hammering, sawing, etc. complete our rich offer.
Relationship to nature
We encounter all living things, plants and animals, with interest and astonishing respect. We cultivate the connection with nature through walks, excursions, small gardening and handicrafts using fruits and seeds which are collected during these activities.
Rhythm and repetition
Regular repetitions and rhythmic design elements give the child a deep sense of confidence and security. A basic trust in the world and a positive attitude to life can be developed as if by themselves.
In Amaranta kindergarten we maintain a daily rhythm with active as well as passive phases. The days are marked by; songs, stories and fairy tales, rhythms, dance and rhymes. By experiencing the seasons; through the year season’s corner, by the various annual festivals and by seasonally emphasized dances, the child learns to orientate himself in time and space.
Every day of the week there is a special meal that is freshly prepared with the help of the children.
Life and work contexts are transparent for the children and are intended to stimulate mediation and imitation.
The child learns in the kindergarten the rules of life in trust and reliability; he learns to balance one’s own needs with those of the environment and to develop a social community.
If conflicts arise, it is important to give the children the opportunity to clarify them among themselves. If this is not possible, the kindergarten teacher acts as a mediator. Constructive conflict management is an essential force and an important learning field for life in the community.
We practice social behavior through; group rules, a clear day structure, care of values, attention and respect for people, nature, as well as helpfulness, consideration and personal involvement of the parents for the kindergarten.
Our goals are to expose children with any mother-tongue language to both Swiss German/German and English: to help children entering with English or with another home language to learn German in a comfortable setting; for those children with Swiss German/German mother-tongue to benefit from exposure to the English language, since English is widely used throughout the world.
Each member of our team speaks in their mother-tongue/main language (one person-one language).
The teachers speak in their respective language but allow children to speak in whichever language they chose. As the daily routine is kept, the children quickly will understand with which person they speak English and with whom German. Children of this age naturally enquire about new words heard or spoken and make links with their own language. The children learn one language through association, by each adult speaking in one language only.
This method is known as “immersion” (in opposite to “submersing”). The teachers use many contextual clues through; body language, singing, playing games, and simple imitation. This method includes careful repetition of key vocabulary in both languages to allow all children to learn the language by hearing and doing. This method of work also allows the children to learn from the others and not be stressed if something is not understood at first.
Teaching in both languages builds upon children’s existing understanding of their daily lives and serves to reinforce their understanding of the world. Bilingual children can better comprehend the complexities of language and are more adept at correcting errors in language meaning and grammar. They develop creativity and gain more understanding of the subtle meanings of words. Looking at a very long term this will also help keeping their minds sharp well into old age. From the social aspect the child will feel more comfortable in a multi-cultural environment and will be more tolerant and open-minded towards people, cultures and languages. The children can then grow into an adult who can more easily tolerate change, and can instinctively attune speaking to the needs of the listener (language and vocabulary).
In a bilingual program, language is not considered an academic subject, it is integrated into the curriculum. The language is not the object taught it is the instrument used to teach the curriculum. We are not teaching a language we are teaching something through the language. As the linguist say; “being bilingual means speaking two languages without having learnt them”. In a bilingual educational setting children are learning the language without realising.