Quality in caregiving.

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Sensitive and based on the adaptability of the child

A gentle familiarisation of new day-care children is an important starting point for our educational work. Our settling-in processes are based on the Berlin settling-in model, which is essentially based on the child’s ability to form attachment relationships. A gentle settling-in is very important to us, because the kindergarten is usually one of the first instances that the children get to know after their family. The aim of settling in is to establish a sustainable relationship between the pedagogical professionals and the child during the presence of the caregiver (usually the parents). This relationship should be similar to a bond and offer the child security. The feeling of security through a good relationship with the pedagogical professional is the basis for successful educational processes in the kindergarten and a healthy start for the child in their new phase of life. The important task of the professionals in cooperation with the parents is to make this transition as smooth as possible.

Before the child begins to settle in, there is an information phase in which the parents of the child are thoroughly informed about the importance of a gentle process. As a rule, a parents’ evening is held before the start of the new kindergarten year, during which the parents also receive our “Starter Kit” on settling in. This “starter kit” contains important information for the future care of their child. This includes an abridged version of our curriculum, a medication form, a checklist of what parents must bring with them, important safety information and instructions on when children must stay at home due to illness.

After a communal introductory phase at the beginning of the actual settling-in period, children and parents enter an initial separation phase after a few days, which can be gradually extended from a few minutes to a few hours depending on the pace and willingness of both sides. Once the child has become familiar with the new environment, then the stabilization phase is considered to have been successful. At the end of the stabilization phase, the child is considered to have become familiar with the new environment and with the new bonds when they feel safe and secure.

From the point of view of the administration, we consider it very important to sensitize the pedagogical professionals to this topic. This includes sound preparation, support and reflection of the professionals by the principals and the administration. In addition to the principals, the group leaders in particular are responsible for the settling in of new children. The group leaders are responsible both for organising the settling-in process and for providing advice to parents.

Video and Audio with Heidi Keller, author of the book “Mythos Bindungstheorie”

Individualized support is at the heart of modern early childhood education – and today this is based primarily on attachment theory. Can one theory be best for all?

Just as children are different, so is their way of relating. Under the challenges of a multicultural society, this diversity simply cannot be mastered with one doctrine. Common sense alone suggests that attachment theory as a single method cannot be good for everyone – just as one size does not fit all. What is the significance of attachment theory today? There has been movement in attachment theory, both in academia and in practice. The signs are pointing to rethinking and reorientation. In science, cultural psychological and anthropological findings that characterize the richness of children’s living and learning environments are finally being taken note of, and in practice, this new quality that has become everyday life in the daycare center is creating facts that are being noticed.

Heidi Keller wants to confront with this book, when it comes to the self-evidence with which the attachment theory is received, and to show the partly unacceptable consequences that result from a blind adoption of the theory in practice. In doing so, she wants to stimulate a discourse from a scientific, professional-political and ethical perspective in order to relieve the highly committed professional practice from the efforts resulting from an uncritical reception of the attachment theory and to support it in its commitment to good child day care.

Prof. Dr. Heidi Keller is head of the Department of Developmental Psychology at the University of Osnabrück. Her work focuses on infant research and early mother-child relationships.

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