Experiencing Nature: Kindergarten in Lassaner Winkel
A nature-based kindergarten in the idyllic landscape of Lassaner Winkel: this vision became a reality at the start of 2018, thanks to an engaged group of teachers and parents.
The dream was to open a nature-based preschool for children 3 years and older in the North-East of Germany, near the coast. To qualify as a forest kindergarten (in German, Waldkindergaten), the initiative needed to have a building that could serve as a haven on cold, wet days. With the support of the Software AG Foundation, they were able to build a cozy wooden building on their property in Papendorf. A terrace and a composting toilet complete the necessary infrastructure for the school.
The kindergarten initiators view nature not simply as a backdrop, but as a place of learning and experience. The nature-based or forest kindergarten concept ensures that children have new, independent experiences on a daily basis. They experience nature with all of their senses and can freely pursue their curiosity and thirst for knowledge. For many parents, a forest kindergarten is their first experience of an alternative, genuinely child-oriented pedagogy. In that respect, the kindergarten also opens doors to the Democratic School in the neighboring town of Jasedow, which the Software AG Foundation also supports.
“Our current social system pays far too little attention to early childhood development, although children in this phase of life are forming the foundation for healthy development,” said SAGST project manager Elke Rahmann. “Through the open, yet protected spaces that the nature kindergarten provides, children experience themselves and others, can develop trust, and learn to assume responsibility for themselves and the world.”