Villa Purzellino – Early Intervention for Speech-impaired Children

A child looking through a wooden building brick
Photo: C. Fischer

Villa Purzellino is the only kindergarten in the upper Black Forest region for children who are speech-impaired or have special support needs. The school is run by the Freundeskreis für förderungsbedürftige Kinder und Jugendliche Hochschwarzwald e.V. - a friends' association for special-needs children and youth in the Black Forest.

In summer 1998, after many years of temporary accommodation, the organisation - together with the help of many dedicated parents - was able to transform a beautiful spacious family home with large garden into a kindergarten. The attractive wooden house is located in Rötenbach, a small town near Titisee-Neustadt.

The converted space offers children space for movement and individual learning processes. It creates space for children to retreat and offers an atmosphere of security. The children feel comfortable and at home in the house - an important prerequisite for therapeutic work.

Play is the foundational principle of the pedagogy in the Villa Purzellino. Play is supplemented and supported to an appropriate extent by learning activities, planned and initiated by the adults. Language support offered by therapeutically trained staff is integrated into the daily activities and programs of the kindergarten. It takes place both as a class as well as individually several times a week. The length of therapy sessions is adapted to the needs and stamina of the children. It is very important to the educators and therapists to share a joy of speaking with the children and to show them the value of language as a communication tool, but also to embrace and accept them regardless of their language difficulties. This creates a foundation for language development, and therefore also for normal school attendance. The kindergarten cooperates closely with elementary schools and elementary special needs classes. The kindergarten is closely networked with other institutions and professional groups in the region, who also support the children's development either in direct cooperation with the school or separately.

The Software AG Foundation supported Villa Purzellino in 2008 in expanding and equipping the third classroom in the house and with materials for designing the external grounds.