European exchange with Erasmus+
The Erasmus+ programme enables FROEBEL to learn new things and to pass on its own experience through exchange with other countries in Europe. Since FROEBEL has been given accreditation for the new funding period 2021-2027, its European involvement can continue to be steadily expanded.
Whether whole teams or individual educators are guests in a kindergarten in another country, they will certainly benefit from the exchange of professional experience as well as having the pleasure of getting to know a different culture. Thanks to Erasmus+ exchanges, a total of 2,000 staff members will be able to engage with the following strategic orientation of FROEBEL beyond national borders over the next 3 years:
Our topics concerning the Erasmus+ exchange
Various actors from different regions who make up the child protection network at FROEBEL would like to learn from colleagues from different European countries and share their own know-how about child protection too. Our focus here is: The protection of children from violence and neglect in the family. What contribution do kindergartens in other European countries make here and what can we learn from them or they from us? What is important to us here is to learn in the areas of intervention and prevention and to gain inspiration with regard to multi-profession networks in the field of child protection.
Sustainability, Education for Sustainable Development (ESD), nature pedagogy
With the slogan “The world in children’s hands”, FROEBEL would like to engage intensively during the next few years with, amongst other things, the topics of sustainability and the idea of education for sustainable development (ESD). The question at the heart of these topics is how we can make the topic of sustainable development accessible to children and empower them to think long-term and to act responsibly and sustainably. We look forward to exchanging ideas with European kindergartens that also engage with these topics and have examples of methodology to report from their own centres.
Culture is what characterises us and cultural education is at the heart of a holistic concept of education. Culture strengthens children in their development in a very particular way and develops their emotional, social and cognitive skills. For FROEBEL, cultural education includes encountering professional art and artistic creativity just as much as engaging with day-to-day culture and getting to know other cultures. Through our European exchange we would like to find out what status this area of education has in other countries and what specific ideas there are for culture kindergartens. We would also like to develop projects together with our European partners.
Education in democracy
At FROEBEL, children learn about democracy by, above all, experiencing and shaping it themselves in our centres. All of our activities every day offer the children opportunities to participate – from the children’s parliament to designing the lunch menu to the “small” decisions that are taken every day. In these ways, we make it possible for children to experience genuine self-determination.
Inclusion & diversity
All people are welcome at FROEBEL. No matter what culture, religion, language, nationality, socio-economic background, sexual orientation, abilities and lifestyle, no matter what personality or gender – the diversity of people – children and adults – is our normality and the resource we draw upon to design everyday activities for the children. Working together in a community that is open-minded, that values the individual and sees everyone as having equal rights, we actively combat disadvantage, discrimination and racism. An inclusive methodology at FROEBEL is always an open-minded methodology as well, in which no-one is left behind or marginalised. The foundation for this is formed by the FROEBEL principles: relationships, individualisation and participation. We see it as our job to ensure that all the children in our FROEBEL centres participate with equal rights and are supported holistically. Equally, we want to continue to break down all barriers and are delighted to exchange experience with other countries with a view to jointly drawing inspiration and developing new ideas.
To improve opportunities and educational fairness for the children in our care and their families, we need early childhood professionals who take into consideration the constant changes in society. Depending on the starting point they have, they need different ideas, strategies and solutions to ensure that areas of learning can be experienced and learning opportunities expanded. They should be enabled to develop the ability to act confidently and autonomously by deploying the necessary skills (solution-orientation, planning and analytical ability, self-awareness). It is not the ability to present solutions that is most important here but the ability to work through to finding solutions independently.
In FROEBEL centres, a variety of digital media are deployed to the benefit of the children. What is important in this is not only the use of digital tools with the children, but opportunities for digital documentation too, for working with families and for using digital forms of in-service training and professional development.
Multilingualism and bilingual education
As part of our Erasmus+ activities, we are looking for Erasmus+ partners to share experience with. We would like to visit bilingual and multilingual kindergartens and exchange ideas about how the quality of ideas is then further developed in practice. Conversely, we are happy to host partner kindergartens that have their own Erasmus+ support. In the main, FROEBEL provides bilingual education in English, but also in Spanish, Italian, Polish, Portuguese and Dutch.
Early Language Learning
One of the most important tasks in care and education centres for young children is to accompany and support the children’s language development processes. We follow the idea of language development that is integrated into everyday routines, where the activities offered to children every day are designed to encourage as much use of language as possible. Our early childhood professionals see themselves as language models who communicate with the children on the same level and adapt the activities they offer to their current and individual interests. Moreover, just under 70 FROEBEL kindergartens are taking part in the federal language kindergarten programme and are supported and accompanied by an additional specialist in language education.
With the topic of architecture we would like to bring together people and organisations that concern themselves as a third educator with the architectural design of space. We would also like to answer questions about how our requirements of external grounds are changing in an increasingly urbanised world. And we would like to show and arouse interest in the challenge of reflecting pedagogical concepts like REGGIO or a focus on MINT in the architecture and interior design of our centres.
Up to now, FROEBEL has had eight Erasmus+ applications for funds approved. Here is a selection:
- The bilingual (Spanish-German) kindergarten Krähennest (crow’s nest) from Cologne travelled with a group of pre-school children to a kindergarten in Malaga in Spain to have a look at the Spanish culture there and to give the children an opportunity to use their Spanish-language skills.
- A partnership project involves a two-year exchange between three German and three Icelandic kindergartens on the topic of sustainability. The language of communication between the educators is English; the children paint something for each other or identify similarities and differences using photographs. See here the kick-off event with children from the Farbkleckse (specks of paint) kindergarten.
FROEBEL centres are happy to receive students for an Erasmus+ internship. These students are given the opportunity by an Erasmus+ grant to try out in practice the theory they have learnt in their studies. At the same time, the kindergartens benefit from the international flair brought by these young people.
- For 6 years, students of German from Limerick have been supporting bilingual centres with the aim of helping the children get to know the English language and Irish culture.
- Increasingly, we receive further enquiries for an Erasmus+ internship from various participating countries like Turkey. Education students with a good knowledge of German or English can enrich the day-to-day activities in many FROEBEL centres irrespective of their native language.
FROEBEL is also happy to be available as a host centre for Erasmus+ work shadowing visits. To enable people to work jointly on certain topics, FROEBEL has received educators from, amongst others, the Austrian provider KIWI in 14 centres in Berlin so that they could exchange ideas with their Berlin colleagues on key topics like bilingual education and interior design, or on topics relevant to the future like digitisation and sustainability.
To give publicity within the Erasmus+ network to the European idea that diversity enriches, FROEBEL also took part in the ErasmusDays 2020.
FROEBEL Bildung und Erziehung gGmbH
Team International Affairs
Tel.: +49 30 21235-301