Internationalism and cultural diversity
Living in a vibrant metropolis like Munich comes with great benefits as well as some challenges. That’s why it is so important for us to prepare children entrusted to us for city living and for becoming citizens of the world. We see openness to new ideas, enjoyment of change, intercultural awareness, and tolerance as cornerstones in this development.
We celebrate Christmas just as naturally as the Sugar Feast, Hanukkah or Halloween. In fun educational projects, we introduce distant countries and cultures, try foreign food and listen to music from all over the world. Even in the selection of our toys, we pay attention to cultural diversity. We invite the families of our kids to come in help us build on their cultural experience. What habits and norms shape the family life? Which cultural affiliation, which ethical principles and values are important to the family? We consider this intercultural exchange as a valuable experience for all; we do not deny that there are differences, but instead provide a wealth of new experiences for each child.
In this area, we focus on preparing skills rather than delivering content. We cannot anticipate today, which cultures our children will come into contact with in the course of their lives, or where on the globe they will choose to settle down. But, together with the families, we can lay the foundations for a cosmopolitan personality.
The Bärchen-Uni pursues a bilingual concept in which English and German are spoken in equal measures. We do this via the immersion method, which has its origin in elementary education and is characterized by “immersion” in the second language, made possible by the constant presence of a native speaker .
Scientific studies show that the earlier in life a person comes into contact with a second language, the better the chances of reaching the sound and fluidity of a native speaker. The phonological development of a child is largely complete around its first birthday; at that point speech production and lexical development gain in importance. Accent, i.e. a certain tone and rhythm, is established by a child’s second birthday. By the third year, children take on dramatic amounts of vocabulary and clear up pronunciation. At the Bärchen-Uni, we help carry out these important development steps for both the German and the English language: an immense advantage in later life!
While we insist on the “one-person-one-language” principle for teachers, we openly encourage language mixing for the children. Using both languages in a sentence is a very natural occurrence until about the age of four, and has no effect on later competence in the individual languages. At this early stage of language development, it offers the children the opportunity to express themselves in a wider range, even if they do not yet know all the words in both languages.
In the Bärchen-Uni we work on a project basis, i.e. unlike school subjects which categorize and compartmentalize knowledge , we develop content together with the children on the basis of a theme. For our toddlers, for example, themes might include the seasons and celebrations, everything about me, plants and animals, habitats or colors.
Is there a future Mozart , Picasso, Bolt or Einstein among our children? We do not know. We think it’s important to give every child room to develop his or her own interests and to discover talents. We therefore place crucial importance on giving our toddlers the opportunity to have a variety of different experiences. Our educational concept always includes musical, artistic, scientific and motor aspects. In order to offer a quality program, we also work with external specialists.
The goal of early musical education is to arouse the interest and enjoyment of sound, rhythm and movement with the children, e.g. through dances, games, demonstrations, and – of course – songs.
We have to learn and foster creative thinking. Especially for our toddlers, early artistic education is not about reproducing images or learning methods. Instead, we focus on the joy of experimenting with color, tools and materials, as well as the creative and sensual experience. In this way they learn perception, concentration and fine motor skills through amazement and play.
In dancing and gymnastics we help develop an awareness of the body, explore their own limits and to strengthen their physical expression. Important motor developments take place especially in the time between two and three years of age, and we know how to support them professionally.
We also expose our toddlers to early mathematical and scientific experiences. Children who recognize early the meaning of numbers in everyday life and, for example, help set the table by counting out plates and cutlery, or who have fun watching an ice cube melt, will not fear such subjects later, but ask further questions with ease and natural curiosity.
Our Vision of the Child
In accordance with our international approach, the Bärchen-Uni adheres to both the specifications of the Munich conceptual framework for nurseries and child-care facilities, as well as the principles of the globally recognized International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO ).
Our goal is to prepare the children entrusted to us for taking an active part in lifelong learning. Important characteristics that we promote are curiosity – both in life and the scientific fields, integrity, communication skills, reflective and analytical skills, courage, empathy and open-mindedness .
A child is born as a competent infant and immediately begins to interact with his or her environment and to explore it with all their senses. We see each child as an active being, who wants to be encouraged, challenged and loved. In our daycare center, we strive to provide the framework to encourage this development.
Each child is unique. They have their own needs, their own personality, specific weaknesses as well as strength and talents. They are shaped by their origins, religions and languages, and have a right to be seen, to be heard and to be respected.
Children shape our daily lives, they are actors in their own world as well as ours. We see ourselves as companions. We learn from each other and, if necessary, act as role models. We provide safety and security and so lay the foundation for the childhood learning processes.