Individual Learning Environment: New School Building at the Osterhof Therapy Centre

The Osterhof therapy centre near Baiersbronn in the northern Black Forest sees itself as a bridge to the family. Since it was established in 1965, children between the ages of three and twelve with a strong need for curative educational and psychotherapeutic support have found a temporary home here and live in a family-like community with the educators. They receive comprehensive therapeutic support, including psychotherapy, therapeutic riding, art therapy, motor skills training or curative educational support, music and creative activities. The aim is for the children to be able to live with their original families again later on – which is generally achieved after a two-year stay on average. During this time, the parents are also deeply involved and live on site during regular visits and discussions – in their own flats, free of charge.

A total of 45 children are cared for by about 50 staff members. A home school with 30 places is part of the therapy programme and will soon move into a new building. The modern Black Forest house, with its large, bright classrooms, is optimally designed to meet individual needs. Learning workshops in small classes, for example, prepare the children for the later transition to mainstream schools. In addition to financing the comprehensive outfitting of a specialist room for science, technology and handicrafts in the building’s gable room, the Software AG (SAGST) is also funding a newly designed exercise and climbing facility in the outdoor area. “Many of the girls and boys living at Osterhof have severely limited motor skills”, says SAGST project manager Jens Maurer. “Allowing them to climb, hop or balance during breaks will strengthen both their motor and social skills.” The planned facility with particularly dynamic and complex structures will promote mobility, strength, endurance and even coordination through play and enable a variety of sensory perceptions. It’s “an important extension of the educational offer in the new school building’s outdoor space”, concludes Maurer.