+371 29250084

schule@deutscheschuleriga.lv

08:00 - 18:30

Monday to Friday

+371 29250084
schule@deutscheschuleriga.lv

Dzirnavu iela 16

Riga, Latvija

08:00 - 18:30
Monday to Friday

Pedagogical concept

Children of all nationalities and ages (4 months – 6 years old) can attend the kindergarten of Riga’s
German School, which is open daily from 08:00 to 18:30. Our holistic concept aims to
comprehensively develop the child while also providing specific academic skills. The focus of our
academic work is the teaching of German language and culture. Added during the preschool year
are reading, writing and simple mathematics. The equally important overall-development of the
child is based on the current educational orientation plan of the German Federal State of Lower
Saxony
(http://www.mk.niedersachsen.de/portal/live.php?navigation_id=25428&article_id=86998&_psmand=8).
Our pedagogical concept also incorporates content which is mandated by Latvia’s
applicable kindergarten and preschool laws (including MK noteikumi Nr. 533 “Noteikumi par
valsts pirmsskolas izglītības vadlīnijām” vom 31.07.2012, und MK noteikumi Nr. 779 “Noteikumi
par vispārējās izglītības iestāžu pedagoģiskā procesa organizēšanai nepieciešamo obligāto
dokumentāciju vom 18.10.2005). Based on those foundations we perceive our school to be a
place for communication, at which children deal mostly verbally with their environment. The
following pages provide a detailed overview of the pedagogical aspects which govern our daily
school routine.

We follow a resource-based view of human development and know how crucial the first few years in the life of a person are for later success. Each child also has an individual personality and, regardless of age, they all differ from each other. Children must therefore be mentored and nurtured according to their individual capacities to absorb new skills and knowledge.

 

“The seed must be buried under the ground in order to thrive. However, this is only possible with the supply

of     light     and     water.     So     the     seeds     can     grow     into     a     beautiful,     fertile     plant”.

 

Children are our “seed“. They bring with them their own personalities and backgrounds. Our daily school life is the light and water (the resources). At our school children expand their horizons and make new experiences under the guidance of our professional teachers. Children should act on their healthy curiosity and love for discovery. After being pointed into the right direction they should employ their natural curiosity and explore the world to establish and grow knowledge. Individual personalities should be accorded a space within which to make decisions favoring the development of skills so children will learn to become independent later in life.

We foster an environment in which children benefit if necessary from tailor made opportunities to discover the world, grow their personalities, build knowledge and develop skills.

Children are curious and full of ideas. To satisfy the young explorers thirst for knowledge children need sufficient space to experiment and apply their creativity. But to reach their potential they also depend on adult input and mentorship as well as the company and stimuli provided by other children. A close relationship with the primary care-giving teacher is a pre-condition for the well- being of the child. Children need love, affection, trust and security, which are all provided by our pedagogical staff. We also dispense empathy and attention as needed in difficult circumstances. Particularly important key qualities we take into consideration when selecting and training our teaching staff are:

Trust
Availability
Dependability

It is important for children to be offered a close relationship with their main teacher. The teacher and the child must trust and know each other well, so the child is aware that it can depend on the teacher, and that the teacher is a friend who is always available to attend to its needs. Our German kindergarten teachers have studied early childhood pedagogics for four years. With a maximum children-teacher ratio of 4:1 (toddler group), 6:1 (intermediate group), and 7.5:1 (pre- school group) we guarantee a high level of quality.

Properly rising and educating children is primarily the responsibility of the parents. But the kindergarten plays an important complementary role in this task. Our institution aims to socially integrate children into human society. The children benefit from sharing their day with other children, particularly with children of other cultural, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds (as of January 2017 our kindergarten is attended by children hailing from 12 different countries). They support and learn from each other. In kindergarten our first friendships are formed, and some of our first conflicts are experienced. We feel for the first time a sense of belonging or membership in a group. Our different kindergarten sections offer a place for children to grow their social competences and their (German) communication skills.

1.1  Section composition 

We accept children into our care starting at the age of 1.5 years. To ensure the proper development of children entrusted into our care we offer the following age-adapted groups:

1.1.1   Toddler section 

In our toddler section at least three German speaking teachers care for a maximum of 12 children who are approximately between 1.5 and 3 years old. The children can develop in a playful way. Daily life in this section includes both free play phases as well as structured programs designed to grow different skills and competences (for detailed information please see the weekly schedule). After 15:30 we offer additional free -play-phases until pick-up.

1.1.2   Kindergarten section 

In our kindergarten section two German speaking teachers care for a maximum of 12 children who are approximately between 3 and 5 years old. The children can develop in a playful way. Daily life in this section includes both free play phases as well as structured programs designed to grow different skills and competences (for detailed information please see the weekly schedule). After 15:30 we offer as an alternative to additional free-play-phases optional extra- curricular activities called “Klubs“ (see the relevant information sheet for a menu of currently offered Klubs).

1.1.3   Pre school section 

In our pre-school section we prepare children between approximately 4.5 and 6 years old for a good start into elementary school. A maximum of 15 children are cared for by two German speaking teachers. To be ready for the 1st grade of elementary school our children acquire the necessary knowledge both though academic as well as playful activities. Our pre-school program takes place daily from 08:30-15:30 (for detailed information please see the weekly schedule). After 15:30 we offer as an alternative to free-play-phases optional extra-curricular programs called “Klubs“ (see the relevant information sheet for a menu of currently offered Klubs).

1.1.4   General 

The daily life in our sections is governed by age-adapted weekly time-schedules, which are posted on our internet page. Beyond that, the doors of our school are open, and supervised care for children of all ages is provided from Monday through Friday from 08:00-18:30. Depending on their individual level of development, children can be transferred into the next age section. Usually this happens at the beginning of a new school year, but by exception can take place during the year. Children of all sections know each other through common activities, such as time spent on the playground. This will facilitate transitioning from one section to another.

The every-day language at our school is German. We equally welcome children whose mother tongue is German, as well as children who would like to learn it. All activities take place in the German language – games, songs, pre-school academic instruction, as well as the regular daily life in our sections. To provide an optimal but also stress-free environment to acquire the German language we apply the following pedagogic and didactic principles:

  • Children absorb a new language best if they are happy.
  • Each section is led by a native-speaking professional teacher from Germany. This teacher is supported by an assistant, who, in addition to German, also speaks Latvian and Russian. As necessary, we can thus selectively ensure that children who do not yet speak German, especially during their first few weeks, non-the-less feel happy, integrated, and at ease at our school.
  • We do not impose the use of the German language. Children have the right to communicate among themselves in other languages – however, we motivate and help them to speak German among themselves as much as possible, and as soon as possible.
  • Children are taught to treat children of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds with equal respect.
  • Our teachers emphasize clear pronunciation and control the speed at which they speak, so  conversations with children can take place on equal terms.
  • Teacher-initiated conversations and all answers are provided in German, but brief deviations into Latvian, Russian, or English occur as necessary.
  • For quicker learning, movements and physical activities are accompanied by speech, and speech is accompanied by gestures.
  • Participation in activities take place in German. Frequent songs, the reading of stories, and background audio means provide a constant and strong German language input to which the children are exposed throughout the day.
  • Children are assigned speaking roles as often as possible to motivate their use of the German language. Whenever possible children of different linguistic backgrounds are paired up with each other to promote their use of German.
  • The development of their linguistic competences is actively promoted through praise when merited. On the other hand side, our teachers avoid making corrections during everyday activities. To goal is to prevent the child from making a negative association between the German language and being corrected or criticized. Difficulty in speaking German shall not be perceived by the child as a deficiency.

A fundamental tenant of our approach to teaching German in the kindergarten is to offer the child a stress-free environment, in which it can gradually and passively absorb the language. Simultaneously we seek to build up the child’s confidence to use the German language freely. Regarding the transition from kindergarten into elementary school, our goal is, in conjunction with our pre-school curricula, that each child speaks German sufficiently well to cope with the requirements of 1st grade equally well as a child whose native language is German.

Children who attend our pre-school section receive each morning, as an important part of their daily schedule, a full hour of age-adapted academic language-instruction. Each week they actively expand their vocabulary through the addition of a new family of related nouns (such as animals, plants, body-parts, clothes, colors, food items, numbers etc). Another academic hour in mid-afternoon (alternating every other day with mathematics) is dedicated to the study of simple grammar and learning how to write (the alphabet). Children who wish to attend a Latvian elementary school on request may also receive preparatory instruction in the writing of the Latvian language.

When children play they actively use their creativity to explore their environment and to expand their horizons. Playtime is the most important activity in a child’s day, and nothing else is as much fun. Children can learn very fast through playing games. Adults often forget, but playing and learning can be combined wonderfully and for small children in fact are often one and the same. Children absorb and internalize new knowledge through play. Children need sufficient time and space to develop their capacities and skills through play. In our school children get every day several opportunities to grow through the active use of free-play-phases. One of them takes place outside in nature or on the playground (subject to the weather).

During those phases the children play with each other and are given the opportunity to explore and make new experiences. Our teachers support those phases by providing the children with incentives to become active and suggest how to maximize the benefits of their playtime. All the while we observe them to ensure that they stay safe and behave socially correct.

The child’s personality takes center stage in our school. The children shall have as many opportunities as possible to build their personality through the confident presentation of their own opinions. We therefore include the children in many daily decisions. For example, during many free-play-phases, the children can often decide if they would rather hear a story out of a book, play in the sand box, solve a puzzle, or play in our sport hall. To arrive at a consensus, children learn how to vote democratically. This way they learn the social skills relevant for living in a society.

In daily life children learn how to respect each other. But even though we teach our children to be mindful of each other’s rights, conflicts cannot be avoided. Opinions are different, and in fact should be different. Therefore children shall learn how to deal with differences and how to solve a conflict in a constructive way. Our teachers will foster the development of this skill by acting as facilitators. Children are taught how to listen to each other, how to present their opinion, and how to arrive at a compromise. Depending on their age and level of development, we encourage children to become active in conflict resolution themselves.

At the same time we do not tolerate unacceptable or dangerous behavior. If a child breaches a red line our teachers will intervene immediately. The conflict parties, respectively the aggressors, are separated from each other or from the group. A senior teacher will explain what the concerned have done wrong, why rules have to be followed, respectively what constitutes intolerable behavior. The concerned are only allowed to rejoin the group if they show regret and learning. Serious incidents will be documented and discussed with the parents concerned.

We closely observe the well-being and health of the children entrusted into our care. We also educate them to keep clean and healthy by performing daily hygiene routines. We regularly wash our hands, particularly before each meal, and we brush our teeth afterwards. We also teach how to use sanitary installations. Initially we accompany and assist as needed, but the goal is that the child learns how to successfully use the bathroom independently.

Riga’s German School is delivered twice daily by the external service provider Eco Catering with healthy fresh food, which is prepared according to the nutritional standards mandated by Latvia’ ministry of education. Each day our teachers share the following three meals with their children:

09:30-10:00               Mid-morning snack (fresh fruit and bread)

12:00-13:00                Lunch (soup followed by a substantial main course and salad)

15:30-16:00                Mid-afternoon snack (fresh fruits, bread, deserts)

We recommend for the children to consume a warm breakfast prior to departing from home in the morning. Our mid-morning snack is an intermediate meal not designed to replace a full breakfast. Individual requirements and food allergies can be taken into consideration. It is our philosophy to let each child individually decide how much of a certain food or food item it wants to eat. We encourage them to try out new food items, but we will never force them!

Every human knows his own taste and appetite, to include children. The weekly menu is posted on the information board in the entrance hall, as well as on our internet site.

Parental involvement plays an important role in our concept. The departure point and focus of our pedagogical planning and actions are the child’s needs, interests and experiences. Close coordination with the parents allow us to understand and consider individual developments and experiences and help us to build the right goals and plans. Equally important is to keep the parents informed of events taking place at the kindergarten. Cooperation and coordination between the teacher and parents is important and in the interest of the child. Rising and educating children is done both at home and in the kindergarten, and should therefore be coordinated. Parental involvement takes on the following forms:

1.1      For new parents:

The first contact prior to the child’s admission is usually an initial meeting between the parents and the school’s leadership to provide and discuss all relevant information about the school and the child. The parents will also meet with the senior teacher in charge of the relevant age- section and visit the premises to observe activity and gain an impression of our kindergarten.

The next step is the integration of the child into its section.

1.2      Introductory period

The course and length of the introductory period is determined by the individual needs and character of the child. Each child is different. Some integrate happily during the very first hour; others require a gradual transition lasting days or even weeks. Close coordination with the parents are especially important during this period. We patiently provide an environment in which the child can separate step by step from the parent at its own speed.

1.3      Feedback and parent participation

We provide and recommend the following continuous parental participation: Observation reports

We inform the parents of their child’s development with written reports at regular intervals, but no less than three times per year. The reports are written in German, but on request can also be issued in English, Russian or Latvian.

Parental reunions

Parental reunions at the section level take place at least once per year. Additional reunions can be called on the initiative of a parent as well as by the teacher. The reunion is a forum where the teacher can inform of and discuss with the parents the daily kindergarten routine, particular issues or plan together for special activities. On request the teacher is also available to offer occasional afternoon programs featuring activities suitable for parental participation.

Individual apointments

Our teachers are available for appointments to meet with parents to inform of the child’s development or discuss other issues.

Hospitation

Each parent is offered the possibility, after prior coordination, to visit and stay with the child to observe and gain an impression of our daily routines and activities.

Celebrations, special events, and excursions

Throughout the year and usually as part of our German culture program we hold at least one celebration or similar special event per quarter to which we invite the parents. Those events also serve to foster a sense of community and usually feature short presentations performed by the children. Interested parents are also invited to participate on our excursions, which take place at least once monthly.

Dissemination of information

Information for the parents, to include the menu and schedule of special events and excursions is posted on the information boards at the school entrance, as well as on our internet site.