Raising fish and chickens: this is how preschool children learn in Essen

Essen Rothenscheid.
In 2020, the Spanish day care center “Casita, mi Kita” was opened in Essen. Children should learn about nature in a playful way. Desirable places.

Just before noon in Daycare Center “Casita, mi daycare”: Children in brightly colored jackets and pants having fun in the sandbox, jumping on a trampoline, running across the meadow. Teresa Lagos, president of the sponsoring association, makes her way through the garden in front of her vegetable field and chicken coop. “Welcome!” Calling right and left. In addition to German, the children of the day care center, which opened in 2020 amid the Corona pandemic, also speak Spanish with their teachers. There is a great demand for bilingual places. Now there are some new projects.

It took ten years from the initial idea to the implementation of the daycare project. Lagos, who was born in Spain, was actually looking for a way to nurture her three children in her mother tongue. They have long since passed the nursery, but the 39-year-old decided: “I will do it for the other children.” A total of 30 boys and girls are cared for in the villa located in Gothestraße. Ten are in the zero to three year age group, and 20 are in the three to six year age group. The day care center is recognized as a free care provider for young people.

Day-care center in Rothenscheid: half of the children have a Spanish-speaking background

Lagos explains that about half of the daycare children have a Spanish speaking background. It is important for other parents to see their children grow up in an international environment and to teach them another language at an early age. “Often these are families who come from other countries and speak Italian or English at home,” says the initiator of the project. Accordingly, children who do not understand a single word of Spanish on their first day also attend the day care center.

However, experience has shown that young children in particular are very curious and learn quickly, says daycare center director Ulla Reinhold: “Of course it depends on individual language skills. But here we have children who are already mastering the language after six months.” That everything happens in a fun way. “The children don’t receive any lessons. Half the teachers simply talk to them in Spanish, look at picture books with them and name the Spanish terms,” explains Reinhold. The other half of the teachers speak German for the children.

Rüttenscheider Kita wants to bring children into contact with nature

The daycare center places great emphasis on sustainability. For this, new projects began there, which are funded by the city of Essen. “I think it is very important for children to be in contact with nature in the middle of the big city,” says Teresa Lagos. So the property in Goethestrasse with a large garden was a stroke of luck for her. Here, teachers and children equipped the kitchen garden together, dismantled the field, planted strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini and radishes. Was that fun? Yolanda (4) Excellent. I actually helped water the plants.

Preschool children also have roommates for animals. The fish is farmed as part of the Aquaponics project. Ian (6) says: “I fed the fish.” In addition to feeding, children check with teachers, for example, whether the water temperature is appropriate. Next year in the daycare center, three to four chickens should move to the garden. The barn is already there, and soon the kids will be able to help feed and collect eggs. “I’m looking forward to the chicken coming on,” says Ian, pulling out a strong bok-bok.

Famous places in Rüttenscheid day care center

Interest in the day care center is high. “I’ve received about 100 emails from parents,” Lagos estimates. “This is due to our concept, but also to the fact that daycare places in Essen are scarce.” The waiting list for children under the age of three is particularly long. Difficult to choose and need to send rejection. “We pay attention to a balanced relationship between boys and girls and to the age structure,” says Lagos. “We also see who is really interested in our project and not only needs a place for daycare.”

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