Anna winner, elisabeth erndt-doll: getting used to it, the portal for early childhood education

Anna Winner, Elisabeth Erndt-Doll

A lot is written about acclimatization, there are rarely detailed reports from practice. Here is one such report. The acclimatization. An excerpt from the brochure:

Anna Winner, Elisabeth Erndt-Doll:
Good start? Everything better! A model for acclimatization to crèches and other daycare facilities for toddlers
ISBN 978-3-86892-015-4
© 2009 publishes the network, Berlin and Weimar
With the kind permission of the publisher


Many new facilities are currently being opened for children aged zero to three years. Mixed-age groups are increasingly being formed and two-year-olds are being accepted in kindergartens. By 2013, care places are to be created for around 35 percent of children under the age of three in Germany. That would be more than a tripling of the previous offer. The political debate about this goal clearly shows that quantitative expansion alone is not enough. In order for this expansion to really benefit the children and their families, quality is required.
The quality discussion does not have to start from scratch here. Since the 1970s, there has been intensive reflection and research into small child pedagogy in Germany, albeit in a small group of experts, in which international scientific knowledge has also been incorporated. Projects were carried out at several locations to support and ensure the transfer of knowledge into practice and to stimulate the dialogue between practice and research.

We worked on one of these model projects in Munich from 1987 to 1991. The project title “Model project: early child support through support for young families in the educational task and through pedagogical qualification of crèches" expresses the main concern of the project: The promotion of young children needs the cooperation of parents and crèche. This task cannot succeed, not in competition and not in isolation, but only together. An essential focus of the project was the development, monitoring and evaluation of an ecopsychologically based familiarization concept. All people who are involved in the transition situation should actively help shape this development phase. Acclimatization is not a passive adaptation process in which the new acclimatization child is acclimated to a given situation by competent adults. Every new child, every new family brings its own needs and resources. The "competent infants" are actively involved in shaping the transition from the family to the crèche. The focus in the Munich acclimatization model is not only on the educator-Child relationship – the group of children, the children who are already visiting the facility, are actively involved. The parents are involved in decisions and their parenting responsibilities are strengthened. The new children, mothers and fathers are invited into everyday educational life. You should be able to get a realistic picture of the crèche yourself, because the work in the facilities is impressive. Only when the crèche with its people, the daily routine and the rooms is no “strange situation" represents more, a child can stay there without his parents and educate himself. This concept has since proven itself many times in practice and has contributed to the fact that fathers are increasingly accompanying their children in the transition phase.
After fighting for 20 years now together with parents and educational experts against prejudices and negative attitudes towards childcare outside the home, we are pleased with the increasing acceptance of crèches and we welcome the urgently needed expansion of childcare places. But we know that this expansion does not automatically mean an acceptance of the toddler pedagogy that we stand for and the quality standards that we consider indispensable. In recent years, we have trained many educators and advised teams on new openings and provided them with professional support. We informed porters, gave lectures, wrote articles and had many, many conversations with parents and experts. We encountered great interest, curiosity, thirst for knowledge and willingness to reflect, but also great uncertainty.
We dedicate the topic “Acclimatization" a whole book and would like to intervene in the quality debate and make our knowledge, experience and arguments available. We want to encourage women and men to take care of the “little ones" To look after children. We know how enriching this work is. Working with toddlers is a professional challenge and requires a lot of professional competence. Alone “the love for the child" is not enough for that.
In the first part of the book we present the theoretical foundations of our model. It seems central to us when working with small children that the educators become aware of their own role and attitudes towards both parents and out-of-home childcare. In the second part we outline the action concept for settling in and in the third part we answer questions that are asked again and again in the further training. Here we also document examples of how teams can use the familiarization model creatively and flexibly when opening new stores. In the fourth part, we put together materials that help plan and reflect on the many conversations with parents that are necessary.
With this book, we would like to thank all of the employees in crèches who, despite their low level of social recognition and payment, stand up for the children and their parents despite many prejudices. Through their work, they enable the children to develop into an independent and community-minded personality and ensure that day nurseries are places where education, upbringing and care are successful.

Anna Winner, Elisabeth Erndt-Doll in September 2009

1 Acclimatization – an indispensable quality feature

The creation of a careful transition from family to daycare together with parents and children is one of the essential quality criteria. It is the be-all and end-all for quality education, upbringing and child care. Only when the child has gained confidence in the daycare center, when it has got to know the facility, the daily routine, the caregivers and the group of children can they learn in the facility. In this, toddlers do not differ from kindergarten and school children. The only difference is the way toddlers learn new things and gain safety.
A designed settling-in phase is understood to mean the first weeks that a child, accompanied by his mother or father, spends in a non-family daycare center. During this time the child feels many changes in his life; it collects numerous new impressions and at the end of this time it may be the first time that they experience separation and farewell. Abrupt and sudden changes in life, over which we have no control, also put adults in a passive and helpless position, to which they often react with anger or perhaps repression. This can lead to traumatic experiences in both adults and children. Gradual changes, on the other hand, allow those involved to actively deal with the new situation and learn to overcome problems through conscious action.
Infants and toddlers are by no means just passive beings who are at the mercy of their environment. They have many opportunities to perceive their environment, to express their needs and to actively influence their development if they find understanding adults to do so. The designed acclimatization period should give the child the opportunity to carefully and gradually grow into the new situation, to actively deal with the diverse new impressions and to cope with feelings of pain and grief during the separation.
In pedagogical practice there are currently different models and concepts for settling in, which are influenced by various psychological and developmental theories and models such as psychoanalysis, attachment theory or family psychology. Regardless of theoretical differences, all concepts agree that the children absolutely need the support of their parents or the people who primarily looked after them in the weeks and months before admission to the crèche. It is characteristic of the Munich acclimatization model, which is described in detail in this book, that all persons involved in acclimatization are actively involved in the process – the parents and their child as well as the group of children and the educational staff. The familiarization takes place predominantly in everyday pedagogical life, growing into the group of children and their inclusion are of great importance in this model. The familiarization does not only focus on the child-child relationship.

Why is it important to get used to it??

A well-designed acclimatization requires great commitment from everyone involved. It requires the sponsors to be willing to allow the admission to be staggered over time and thus to waive fees. It requires the willingness of the respective teams to invite parents to their facility and to be observed in everyday life for several days or weeks, and requires the parents to be willing to spend several hours a day with their children over a period of two to three weeks to spend the facilities. The design of the acclimatization represents a considerable “investment" that must be well justified – especially because the positive effects are not always immediately apparent. However, getting used to it will definitely pay off in the long term.

The children dare to show their feelings openly and become less sick
When a project for the qualification of crèches started in Munich in 1987, not all nursery school teachers were immediately enthusiastic about the idea of ​​accompanying acclimatization. It takes courage to invite the parents into everyday life: “How will the other children react if parents are suddenly present in everyday group life? How will the parents behave? Can I still work ‘normally’ if I feel constantly being watched?"
The first acclimatization did not seem to be particularly good arguments for this “investment" to deliver. The presence of the mothers seemed to invite the children to cry and complain. In no way did they cry less than the children without acclimatization. In many cases it was even the case that the children were much “easier to care for without getting used to" worked. They cried less, had everything done with them and didn’t seem to miss the parents. But these children were really well?
Various studies (Ahnert 1998; Beller 1994; Passauer; Wiedemann 1990; Laewen 1989) suggest a different interpretation: These children were by no means under less stress. Due to the great insecurity that the abrupt separation meant for them, they were hardly able to show their fears and uneasiness. The children often expressed their great inner burdens indirectly. In a study of one-year-old crib children, Laewen (1989) found that those who were accompanied by their parents in the first few days of crib were less likely to be ill in the following days than the children who had to break up with their parents abruptly. And were the children who dared to cry feel bad? The research results from Beller (1994) show that children who were gradually acclimatized with the presence of their mother cried more or as often in the first four weeks and showed symptoms of stress like children who suddenly had to separate from their parents. But after twelve months in the nursery, the positive effects of getting used to the group comparison were still significant. The children, who were gradually getting used to, had now adapted well to the group situation, were happy to be comforted and showed fewer symptoms of stress than the control group. The children, who suddenly had to part with their parents, now cried more frequently, expressed more discomfort than during the settling-in period and now showed this behavior considerably more frequently than the children with acclimatization. The development of prosocial behavior in the children’s group was also astonishing. In the first 20 days, the children’s interest in other children was almost the same. While the interest stagnated in the children without acclimatization, it rose significantly in the children with acclimatization. Beller interprets the results as follows: “We believe that the separation experience for these children (with acclimatization) was no more difficult or painful than for the children of the other group (without acclimatization). However, the presence of a parent may allow the child to express their negative feelings more freely. We expected that the child could learn to deal with his feelings better when he expresses them and experiences them consciously." (Beller 1994, p. 61)
The goal of consciously shaping the acclimatization for the new crib is therefore not to avoid stressful situations and to suppress unpleasant feelings such as grief, anger or longing, but to give the child the opportunity to actively deal with these feelings and to experience that one can also express negative feelings and thus not encounter rejection.

Acclimatization strengthens parenting responsibilities

Parents are the most important people in children’s lives for the first 18 years. The Basic Law takes this into account and places the family under the protection of the state. Day-care centers for families are increasingly becoming meeting places for families because it has been recognized that education, care and upbringing and the promotion of an independent and community-minded personality can only succeed if the parents are involved in this social task. In their efforts to look after the children, day care centers can not only refer to them, they must also strengthen the parents’ responsibility for bringing up children. The common way of getting used to it is a very good opportunity.
Attachment research has shown in many ways that a secure attachment to parents is a good basis for development for children, while insecure or ambivalent attachments burden development. An unencumbered bond between parents and children is not always successful. This creates uncertain or ambivalent relationships if the parents do not respond directly or very ambiguously to their children’s needs because they may be afraid that they may spoil their baby. In most parent-child relationships, a secure bond is created by the parents often reacting sensitively to the needs and signals of the child. The social environment in which the families live makes an important contribution to this. When daycare centers make acclimatization with the parents as a criterion for admission, they show how important it is to them that the parents respond sensitively to their child’s need for a gentle transition. Parents can really live up to their responsibility and are not forced by economic constraints to disregard their children’s feelings and needs. During the settling-in period, parents experience the everyday life of a day care center. So you don’t have to trust blindly and can see with your own eyes what your child will experience here. Because they are not only dependent on guesswork or reports from others, parents can make well-founded decisions and are not pushed out of responsibility for their children – with the indication that they should have confidence in the facility. Daycare providers should be aware of this responsibility. Becker-Stoll explains: "The NICHD Early Childcare Network (1997) showed, on the basis of a sample of more than 1000 toddlers, that early use of day care did not fundamentally worsen the parent-child relationship: afterwards, motherly sensitivity was the dominant factor the bond security of the mother-child bond, regardless of whether the child was exclusively at home or in non-maternal care. The combination of sensitive care both at home and in non-family care was very often associated with unsafe mother-child ties. This shows that poor day care is more likely to be accepted by sensitive mothers and that this combination then has a particularly problematic effect on the mother-child relationship." (Becker-Stoll 2008, p. 28)

The children become transition winners through acclimatization

People go through transitional phases in their lives time and again: entering school, adolescence, first job or the birth of a child are considered as so-called transitions (see p.). The family also experiences entry into the first day care center as a transition phase. Transition phases are accompanied by strong and often conflicting emotions. Actually, you are curious, excited and excited about the new impressions and opportunities, but at the same time nervous, over-sensitive and concerned whether everything will be fine and your own hopes fulfilled. Research has shown that we transfer learning experiences during a transition phase to the following and that these experiences shape our behavior, our feelings and our self-image. If children experience again and again that they can make a difference with their behavior, actively tackle problems and also solve them in cooperation with others, they will continue to deal with them more actively in the future. If children learn that their needs are perceived, that they can express negative feelings with impunity and that contradictions, conflicts, failures are part of everyday life and do not have to be avoided at all costs, they will not develop an excessive need for harmony, but a healthy tolerance for frustration. However, if children experience themselves again and again as passive objects with which something is done, they often feel that they cannot control situations themselves, but that they are determined from the outside, creating helplessness. In this context, Seligman (1979) speaks of “learned helplessness". There is then a risk that children will perceive events that they could actually control as uncontrollable and no longer try. This creates a vicious circle that is difficult to break because the children experience less and less success. A good and successful acclimatization period (and that does not necessarily mean a harmonious and completely problem-free time in any case) is not only a good basis for the further visit to daycare centers. If children experience themselves as successful and emerge strengthened from such crises, they will also be more resilient and competent in dealing with other difficult situations. Such children go as “transition winners" out of the transition.

The familiarization strengthens the cooperation between family and day care center
For many educators, the time to get used to is not only a phase of great professional effort, but also a good opportunity to make the quality of their work visible. Parents who accompany their children to the day care center for several hours a day over a period of two weeks develop, almost without exception, great respect for the work that is done there. And they also realize that this is “work" acts that requires a high level of expertise and professional commitment. "My work is impressive", a teacher said proudly when asked why she likes to invite parents to her group.
The familiarization in cooperation with the parents was not only good for the children; it triggered a surge in quality in the crèches. Those who have to explain their work understand it better themselves. Today, educators who work with small children are mostly very aware of their tasks. They reflect on their behavior, document their offers and make their decisions transparent. They have become confident partners of their parents.
Prokop (2008) describes this relationship between parents and educators: “In this intensive exchange, the culture of cooperation between the parents and the future caregiver of the child begins. The crucial point is: only when the parents have found the necessary trust in our work and all uncertainties have been resolved can the child be able to develop a positive relationship with the responsible caregiver. And last but not least, a successful familiarization phase is also the basis for any further cooperative cooperation between the family home and the daycare center." (Prokop 2008, p. 14ff.)

Young children learn to cope with transitions

Educators often complain that it is difficult to convince parents to invest so much time in settling in: “It has to be quicker. That’s just the whim of the facility. I know my child, that doesn’t cause any problems." Apart from the fact that this prognosis mostly turns out to be wrong, it is clear here that parents are not necessarily educated specialists. They usually have to be informed about the importance of educational processes in day-care centers as well as about the course of a rehabilitation measure or a retraining course. Educators should not see this as an attack, but as an invitation to explain.
As societal educational institutions, daycare centers have the task of enabling children to have learning experiences that lead to education. Children can only form if not only the “What" (the learning content), but also the "How" (the learning process) is taken into account. If the child is just going to get full, feeding it is probably enough. However, if the child is to learn to eat in a joyful, enjoyable and self-determined way, then other measures are necessary. If the child should only be dressed quickly so that he can get into the garden as quickly as possible, then it is sufficient if an adult puts it on quickly. But if it is to learn to dress itself, then it takes a lot of patience with the adults. You have a completely different idea of ​​efficiency than children. During the settling-in period, it is not just a question of the child staying in the facility as quickly as possible without much grief, but of learning how to manage a transition. Parents should not block this learning opportunity for their children.

On what basic assumptions is the Munich acclimatization model based??

The Munich acclimatization model looks at acclimatization from a family and developmental psychological perspective and shows many parallels to ecopsychological models of school ability and the design of the transition from family or kindergarten to primary school. The toddler pedagogy and the pedagogy of preschool and elementary school children came to similar results in different ways. While toddler pedagogy focused on the transition from family to day nursery and paid little attention to the transition from day nursery to kindergarten, there were early considerations in kindergarten pedagogy for the transition from kindergarten to primary school. On the other hand, the considerations regarding the transition from family to kindergarten were still conceptually incomplete.
The concept described here is suitable for both toddlers and kindergarten children, since the basic educational goals remain the same – regardless of what age the children are or what specific transition they have to master. What changes are the methods by which the goals can be achieved. The basic assumptions that characterize this model are presented below.

The crèche – an educational institution

Familiarization concepts often do not differentiate between the different forms of care in infancy. This can give the impression that the crèche or kindergarten is just a larger day care center with more children, or a room in which many replacement grannies, replacement mothers, nannies, etc. look after the children entrusted to them. The crèche or mixed-age day care center, on the other hand, are more than non-family care facilities. They are social educational institutions in which the legally guaranteed triad of care, upbringing and education is guaranteed. Entry into the crèche is not just a new childcare arrangement for the parents. It includes the transition to the first social educational institution.
On behalf of the Bertelsmann Foundation (Fritschi; Oesch 2008), it was examined what influence the use of early childhood education and childcare offers has on the later school attendance of the children. The analysis only referred to nativity scenes and the years 1990 to 1995 of children born in Germany. The results were surprising: early childhood education has a major impact on children’s educational pathways. For the average child, the likelihood of attending high school increases from 36 to around 50 percent if they have previously attended a crèche. The improvement in educational opportunities through attending crèche is even higher for disadvantaged children than for the average. Around two thirds of the disadvantaged children who attended crèche go to high school. Of the underprivileged children, almost two fifths of those who were in a crèche go to high school as “non-crèche children".
The expansion of nursery places is therefore not only a social or women’s measure; Above all, it means an educational policy measure that can be used to reduce the disadvantage of children in education. Many publications are currently making clear how children form in crèches and what framework conditions are necessary for this (e.g. Schäfer 2008; van der Beek 2007; Winner 2008).

Competent infants – competent adults

Professional behavior is always supported by a conscious or unconscious basic attitude towards the people we meet. This attitude already influences our perception. As social beings, we are dependent on understanding the behavior of our fellow human beings – and so we not only observe, we also interpret very quickly.
Today, all early childhood education plans and concepts emphasize that when they talk about education, upbringing and care, they have a competent infant in mind. But basically there are three patterns of interpretation that shape the educational behavior and at least two that run through the pedagogical concepts. These patterns of interpretation are often called the "pictures of the child" designated. The reactions of adults to childish actions reveal the following ideas and pictures, with the help of which the behavior is interpreted:

Image 1: The infant – a helpless baby

This picture is shaped by the idea that the child is “empty" and is born helpless. It is completely dependent and can neither recognize nor express its individual needs. It needs an adult who knows what an “average" Child when and how needs. Only with the help of the adult who fills this empty vessel, the “tabula rasa" describes, the human being matures into a competent, autonomous and active adult. The almighty adult faces a helpless child.

Image 2: The baby – an instinct-driven devil

This picture was mainly from the "black" Pedagogy propagated. It runs through many horror films about monster children, is currently experiencing a renaissance in programs such as Super Nanny and Co. and still definitely determines the everyday educational ideas of adults. The message was: The child is born burdened with inheritance and is ruled by instincts and evil, evil powers. Only an adult who fights against these powers with all their might can educate them. And only through the strict, controlling and punishing adult does the child lose its wild and raw qualities and become a morally stable adult. The almighty child faces an often helpless but aggressive adult. This picture has brought much harm and sorrow and caused great suffering to the children. The persistent and interested research of toddlers was often interpreted as intentionally evil in front of this slide: For example, if a child repeatedly throws an object out of the stroller to find that it falls again and again and then is happy about the cooperation between the adults who keep picking it up again and again. Adults often interpret this behavior as follows: The child wants to annoy me and even the joy that the child shows when doing is often rated as malice.

Image 3: The competent infant

This picture is by no means a discovery of modern infant research, even if it has contributed much to the scientific confirmation of this view. Great artists and geniuses have always admired children’s skills. Picasso is said to have said: “I was able to paint like Raphael when I was six, but I had to be many years old to be able to paint like a child." And Goethe wrote: “Those who are content with pure experience and act accordingly have enough truth. The growing child is wise in this sense." Children are not born as helpless babies, but as individual personalities. They have a variety of skills from birth. You are active, strong, rich, powerful and clever. They not only absorb their environment passively, but actively control their perception and help shape their development. Children are not stupid or wiser than adults, they are wise in another way. Children need adults who engage in their individuality, who want to understand the child and who meet him in partnership. The competent child is opposed to a confident, competent adult. The relationship is based on equality but not equality.
These three ideas provide the coordinates and thus form the scope for action in which pedagogical action takes place. Even if parents and educators try to adapt the concepts and their behavior to the third picture, they should be aware that all three pictures live in them. Adults evaluate behavior unreflectedly by saying: “He could, he just doesn’t want to." "How can you be so stupid." "It is smelly lazy." "It does that on purpose, out of pure malice." – or: "He’s just dancing around on the mother’s nose", when the son has a hard time separating from her.
These images work in all social situations: educators form an image of parents and parents form an image of educators – and everyone sees the children in their individual way. If we are striving for an educational and educational partnership, we should take care of our counterpart perceived as a competent person with strengths and weaknesses.
This is how Roger Prott formulates as a principle for a successful cooperation between day care center and parents: “Accept that almost all children, almost all parents and almost all educators really live in normal circumstances – at least according to what society allows for. With a few exceptions, parents represent the range of social practice in dealing with children. They may all act differently from professional parenting advisors of good quality parenting according to their standards, but parents raise their children according to general understanding and laws. There is no reason to lump the majority of parents together as bad parents. And there is no need to be in constant alarm as a teacher." (Prott 2003, p. 8)

Crises – part of every development

Crisis? This word doesn’t suit childhood. It belongs in the adult world – and crises are undesirable. Adults don’t want crises, they want harmony and happy children. A happy childhood and an all-round and harmonious development – isn’t that the goal of child-friendly pedagogy? The answer is yes and no. Of course, children need stable phases, times when they can rest from the pressure of development, enjoy their skills and move in safe terrain and do not have to take any risks. Development hardly takes place in such times, because development and harmony are a contradiction in terms. Harmony is a motionless state, everything is in balance, everything stays as it is, nothing changes – the real paradise, beautiful but boring.
Children develop through active engagement with themselves and their environment. New needs always arise that cannot be satisfied with their current abilities and possibilities, and conflicts arise with new requirements of the environment and with themselves. This contradiction is an important driving force for development. Man is not primarily a need-satisfying being, but a need-producing being. We can observe this principle of development: Development is exhausting and difficult. Sometimes children seem particularly restless and irritable; they seem to be completely out of balance. This behavior often seems inexplicable to adults. You don’t know that the child is about to start a new development step. Wygotski describes in “The crisis of the one year old" learning to walk in this context: “The focus is on learning to walk, the period in which you cannot say that the child is already running or is not yet running. It’s about the nascent running. : It is there and it is not there." (Wygotski 1987, p. 163) Sometimes children get really sick. You need a break in development pressure. And then they run and harvest the fruits of learning with joy. “After each of these phases of change, the children give the impression that great changes have taken place in their subjective self and in others. Suddenly they appear to be transformed." (Stern 1994, p. 22) You are in balance again. These critical transition processes, in which the child is, for example, no longer just a crawling but also not yet a really running child, have often been neglected in psychology and education. "Even the well-known step models of earlier developmental psychology were less concerned with the processes of the transition itself, but rather emphasized the development stages, which are relatively static, between the transitions. The entry into each new age was postulated as an inner turning point and psychological transition without explaining or describing the suggested change processes." (Griebel; Niesel 2004, p. 22)

Transition research – goals for acclimatization

Transition research pays special attention to these transition phases and tries to create a link between sociology and psychology. Children today live in a world full of changes and changes. Parents separate and find new partners, families have to chase jobs, places of residence and friends change. While the risks of these changes are often in the foreground in psychological research, transition research focuses more on the opportunities of the transition phases. It provides research results that help educators to strengthen children in such phases and to take advantage of learning and development opportunities. The aim of such pedagogy is not to make the transition as quick and “problem-free" to overcome, but to give those affected the time and support to actively manage the transition and to experience themselves as successful in this process. This creates a good basis for coping with further transition phases.
Not every developmental crisis represents a transition in the sense of transition research. Transitions or transition processes refer to crisis-like, time-limited phases in the development of people that are triggered by first or one-time, striking events. Such events can be the entry into the crèche, the birth of a sibling or the separation of the parents. Transitions accompany our whole life. In many cultures there are rituals that mark transitions and mobilize social networks to support them, for example entry into kindergarten, school enrollment, the ordination of adolescents, confirmation, confirmation, final exam, marriage, retirement, funeral service. The focus is not only on the individual, but on the social community (for example the family). The striking event offsets the whole structure and a new role is expected from at least one member. Transitions are usually accompanied by strong emotions, everyday routines no longer fit; humans have to adapt to many different requirements in a relatively short time. The people usually experience themselves in a “limbo". You are no longer. and not yet. That is why we speak of transition. During the familiarization phase, the child no longer experiences himself as just a “home child" and not really as a "crib child". The parents no longer feel completely “alone" Upbringing and not quite as nativity scene parents. “Separations are often painful for everyone involved and therefore always stressful situations. For this reason, the design of the familiarization with the crèche should take into account all those involved: the responsible family caregivers, the child, the group teacher, the leader and the children present. The acclimatization must not only refer to the child, because you don’t help him much if you only focus on his needs, but only make demands on the adults involved . "(State capital Munich 1994, pp. 34ff.).
The scientific research of recent years (Wustmann 2004 and Griebel; Niesel 2004 are suitable for an overview) provide good information on the conditions under which transition situations are more likely to be coped with:

  • The event is desirable.
  • People can actively shape the transition process and experience themselves as learnable and successful.
  • You get support from trusted people.
  • They are largely familiar with the situation before they have to deal with it on their own.
  • In the new situation, you will find people who support, appreciate, welcome and perceive their skills and needs.
  • You have a reliable and trusting relationship with at least one adult caregiver in the new institution.
  • They find challenges that they would like to master and see new development opportunities for themselves.
  • They can express uncomfortable feelings, fears, stress or excessive demands and find understanding and not rejection.

The longing for continuity and harmony also determined elements in concepts for settling in or transitioning from kindergarten to school, for example. It was thought that the transition would be better managed if the situations were similar. Today it is known that transitions can be mastered well when the new situation is attractive to the child, when the child discovers a development-appropriate challenge in the new situation that it is excited about and that it would like to master. In contrast to changing childcare constellations, the transition from family to nursery is not just about the child gaining confidence in a new caregiver and otherwise the situations remain largely similar. The child and the parents need the chance to get to know the crèche as an attractive educational institution. Only when the event is desired for the child will he be happy to be in the facility.
The goals for acclimatization can be derived from the findings of transaction research. The key question is: what can the institution do to create the conditions under which a transition situation is more likely to be dealt with?

Attitudes to childcare outside the home – prejudices and counter-arguments

During the settling-in period, the attitudes towards extra-family care for small children are put to the test. How the transition from the family to the daycare center succeeds is not negligibly influenced by the conscious or unconscious attitudes of those involved in the out-of-home care of small children. A positive attitude can be assumed for the parents and not for all kindergarten teachers. In the following, some typical prejudices are named and counter-arguments are explained. In this way, educators can reflect on their own attitudes, help parents to clarify their attitudes and also against hostility from “outside”" prepare.

Prejudice 1: Young children cannot do anything with other children

Developmental psychologists also believed for a long time that toddlers cannot do anything with other children and especially with their peers. This was inferred, among other things, from the playing behavior: toddlers deal with materials that are of interest to them with great endurance. For this exploratory game, it was thought that toddlers can only need adults who offer them the material and assist them patiently. If several small children were playing in one room, the behavior shown was described as a parallel game. It seemed to the adults that the children were doing the same thing side by side without cooperating with each other. The employees in toddler groups can report completely different results here. It is by no means irrelevant for children whether they are handling an object alone or whether other peers are present in the room:
First example: Three children, about eight months old, sit around their “treasure chest". This is filled with various everyday materials that stimulate the children’s senses – a large pine cone, a small whisk, a small but heavy glass candle holder, a bio lemon, etc. Tom gently chews on the whisk while Lisa tries to keep her balance with the glass candle holder , She skillfully balances the weight with her free arm. So she finally comes very close to Tom and holds out her free hand for the whisk. For a short time, a connection is established between the two over the whisk. Amazed, they both hold onto it. Lisa drops her glass object to the floor, but also loses contact with the whisk. She rowed with both arms, but Tom keeps the whisk to himself and Lisa looks for a new thing from the basket.
Second example: In their cooperation facility, the educators always offer play events for age-homogeneous groups of children. Today six children between the ages of twelve and 15 months meet in one room. The educators have spread out all the materials that are particularly interesting for children of this age and with which they can experiment undisturbed: different sized cans, plastic bottles with screw caps, tubes made of solid cardboard and many objects that are suitable for filling and pouring out. Agnes is already standing on her feet very securely. Standing upright, she puts a large can on her head. In doing so, she discovers that the silvery surface reflects. She knocks on the surface, making a noise. Agnes is very happy with the effect, looks around radiantly and gets the attention of other children. These now take cans and tap rhythmically on them – all shine. Finally, a child leads a can to his mouth as if to drink and calls into the can. This suggestion is also taken up. Everyone is now calling into their cans and are very pleased with the effect.
In 1946, the famous Hungarian pediatrician Emmi Pikler founded a nursing home in Budapest, the Loczy. From the beginning, she made sure that the life and play of the children was documented in a variety of ways. These recordings show how much children a few months old relate to other children, observe them with interest, look at one another or move towards one another and deal with one another – as best they can already do so (Pikler 2001). In his book “The Psychology of the Game" Oerter therefore redefines the parallel game: “A second form of preparatory common object reference can be found in the parallel game, a special form of interaction. The children observe each other’s actions and imitate each other. You get to know the other’s handling of the object and try out the observed options for action on your own object." (Oerter 1993, p. 98) Even though toddlers sometimes treat each other roughly because they are not yet able to control their movement so well, toddlers do not perceive their peers as threatening. All they need to play together is adults who take care of them, intervene in an emergency and give them security.
But children benefit from other children not only in the game. In many areas, such as personal hygiene, eating, dressing and in the bathroom, the children seem to learn casually and easily from the other children. Reggio pedagogy therefore speaks of the fact that children find three educators in the facilities: the first educator is therefore the other children, only the second educator is the adult educator and the third educator is the rooms. (Lingenauber 2004)

Prejudice 2: In the first two years of life, the children should above all have contact with their parents

This statement is usually based on a picture of a helpless, passive and “empty" Infant, from a "physiological premature birth", which only really matured and survived at one year. Today we know that infants are individual personalities from birth, with personal preferences, characteristics and temperaments. They are actively curious and inquisitive from birth. They already know a lot about themselves and express their needs in 100 languages, such as Loris Malaguzzi, the “father" Reggio Pedagogy explained in his poem (Malaguzzi 1985) Upbringing and care require, from birth, the dialogue with the infant, which is formed from the first minute. So it is not enough if the adults know what a “normal" Human baby at what age on average needs. You have to get involved with this special child. All children sometimes give their parents puzzles, again and again parents are unsure, at a loss and sometimes even desperate. It is helpful if the families are not left alone and have to do everything on their own. Many young families seek contact with others; Infant groups and courses for parents are very popular. It is very relieving to learn that other children do not sleep through the night, other children also have flatulence, teething and occasional diarrhea.
African wisdom says: “To raise a child, you need an entire village." But not only the families need this village, the village also needs the family. It is very important for the climate in a society that everyone takes responsibility for the children and that care, upbringing and education is not only transferred to the parents. A child-friendly society is a people-friendly society.
Children who are in contact with several people grow “multilingual" on – even if the others only use one national language. Communication is successful when you understand what the other means and not just hear what the other is saying. What we mean, we express our communicative intentions in a hundred languages, using facial expressions, gestures, actions, language, silence, smiles etc. We send our messages through many channels and on at least four levels. To understand, we have to get involved with each other, we have to think into and empathize with him. And we have to understand the facts, know the world in which we operate. Communication takes place in the triangle “I-you-world" (Winner 2007). Children who are only a few weeks old feel that they act differently on different people and that they react differently to them. If this group of people maintains a manageable size and remains approximately stable, the child quickly learns how to express itself with which communication partner in order to achieve what it wants. And vice versa, the different people can also give the child very different experiences: The grandmother may respond patiently again and again when the index finger wanders from one object to the next and with a “there" an answer is requested. The mother may become “wilder" play and put their own thoughts into words. The educator will not respond to the angry child with her own anger, but will try to intonate the child’s feelings by expressing the feelings in words: “This is really annoying for you, it is not nice that the castle has broken down." Brodin and Hylander see this difference as an opportunity for the development of children: “If a child encounters many people at a very early stage and learns different messages about themselves, they receive a broad spectrum that confirms their feelings. Many skills inherent in the child are awakened in a self-enriching process. The importance that children have for each other in this process is underestimated. What is forgotten is that what children share with one another can often differ significantly from what they share with adults." (Brodin; Hylander 2002, p. 84)

Prejudice 3: The needs of individual children cannot be satisfied in the crèche

This prejudice is fueled by an idealized family picture and a very schematic transfer of family conditions to the crèche. A good family does not have to be measured against the quality criteria for a good crèche and vice versa. So the question cannot be: “Are children in the family or in the crèche better??" The question must be: “What should a crèche look like so that children are doing well there??"
With a blanket rejection, opponents of daycare such as Johannes Pechstein (1990) made it very easy for them. Because they fundamentally rejected childcare, they did not have to deal with suitable framework conditions and thus did not make any political demands in the interest of the children who were looked after. Thanks to the commitment of parents, educators, scientists, but also sponsors, political bodies and public administrations, the day nurseries in Germany have developed into mostly high-quality educational institutions for toddlers in recent years. The necessary framework conditions have been defined, even if they have not yet been implemented everywhere and have to be fought for again and again.
The crèche is the first educational institution that is not attractive to toddlers because the same thing happens there as at home, but because something different happens at home. Deci and Ryan (1995) distinguish three basic psychological needs in children: the need for belonging, protection and attachment, the need for competence and the need for autonomy. Children only feel good and can only develop well if all three needs are met to the same extent. However, children as well as adults do not expect that all needs can be met in the same way in all places. Rather, it shows that even small children expect different things from different situations and enjoy these differences. They need good educators but no substitute mothers, they need good nurseries but no second-child rooms. As soon as children have a certain confidence in the crèche as an institution, they hope to gain skills, expand their autonomy and provide good care in a different way. This often leads to misunderstandings and conflicts among adults if they are not aware of these important differences (Winner 2003). For example, nursery schoolchildren are sometimes upset when they watch the mothers dressing their children, carrying them around or offering them a pacifier, even though the children dress themselves independently in the crèche, walk themselves and ask for the pacifier much less frequently. Parents are also concerned if they experience that the educator encourages the children to solve conflicts themselves, does not jump up immediately when a child cries or does not take sides for individual children.
Some toddlers live a “double life” for weeks": They can be fed and pampered at home and eat easily with a spoon in the crèche. The children simply take advantage of the opportunities and advantages that the different areas of life offer. They use educators as educators and mothers as mothers and are often much clearer in their behavior and feelings than adults. Attending the crèche is particularly productive for the children if they live a high-quality toddler education and are not a weak copy of the family.
Children should grow into modern society so that they can live well in it and shape it well. We live in a service society today. Much of what was previously done privately is now done by trained specialists for a fee. We have our hair cut by the hairdresser, bake the bread from the bakery, use the expertise of doctors and dentists, beauticians, massage therapists, etc. This has advantages. Individuals can specialize in one area and thus achieve a higher level of expertise. The offer is clearly defined and readily available, and there are generally binding quality standards. People meet with these services. There is therefore always the risk that different expectations collide or that limits are not met. Children develop a keen sense of this very quickly. For example, they accept painful treatment from a doctor because he is a doctor, and rightly they would protest against the mother. They accept that the educator is impartial and helps all children equally. On the other hand, they expect the mother to take sides. She must not simply share her attention and care, as the following typical example shows: The mother enters the group room to pick up her one-year-old daughter Julia. Julia notices the mother, but stays with her game. The mother stands patiently in the room and waits. Finally a second mother comes in and both women start a conversation. Julia quickly crawls towards the mother and hangs on her leg. You should watch her attentively and not speak to another person.

From host to partner – the roles of the reference teacher

Acclimatization times are phases of great excitement, great insecurities among children and parents and, for the pedagogical specialists, phases of great effort and high professional demands. Again and again an educator has to get involved with individual parents and children with all their wishes, needs and mixed feelings. Even if parents and children are involved, it is the task of the educational specialists to plan, guide and moderate the transition process. It is essential for your own occupational health that educators are clearly aware of their role and tasks. The younger the children with whom they work, the more precisely the specialists need to know and reflect on their feelings.
In most facilities, reference teachers or teams of reference teachers are designated for the settlements. These are contacts for the parents and children and should help to make the abundance of offers, people and information transparent for the new ones. In this sense, they are hosts. And a good hostess makes sure that a new visitor feels comfortable. She helps him to find his way around the rooms, introduces other guests or hosts and is happy when the new visitor contacts other people.
In the further course, the role of the reference teachers changes. They become partners for the parents and familiar caregivers for the children. A trusting relationship develops between the children and the familiar educator. The child learns that he can rely on this person, that he or she adheres to the agreements and gives them security. The reference teacher here represents all employees in the facility who will get to know the child later and to whom they will be trusted. The relationship between the reference teacher and the child is therefore similar to the relationship between the children and the professional staff, but is very different from the relationship that the mother and / or father have with their child.
Many parents experience the transition processes in which their children find themselves with mixed feelings. They should accompany and support their children in these phases and are themselves affected. On the one hand, they want their children to feel comfortable in the new facility and to settle in quickly. At the same time, many parents mostly unconsciously ask themselves the anxious question: What is left for me if my child is a crèche child, a kindergarten child, a school child? Pedagogical specialists can relieve and support parents if they keep showing them that they are taking nothing from their parents and that no professional or loving specialist can replace mother and / or father. In this sensitive phase, educators should avoid anything that could fuel jealousy or competition among parents. No child should get into a conflict during the settling-in period and feel a message that makes them believe that they have to choose between parents and educators. This essential pedagogical attitude should always be made aware of by specialists, because they do not always express their own ambivalences in words, but often in their body language.

Parent-child bond – educator-child relationship

Educators love children – parents love their child. This statement is not a linguistic subtlety. It very well describes a major difference in relationships. Educators love children, just as conductors love music, car mechanics love engines and mathematicians love numbers. Because they love children, the pedagogical staff like to deal with them, they like to watch them, they learn to understand and think better and better, they discuss and plan time and again how they can support children in their development. As in all professions, it is also good in the educational profession if you can make your passion, your inclination to work. But inclination is not enough in all professions. To be good at a job, everyone also needs training. Educators have this training: they understand children and know what they need in an institution.
Parents love their child. However, this does not mean that they generally like children in particular or understand them particularly well. Many parents are generally not enthusiastic about children’s drawings, they are only superficially interested in children’s language development and find other children quite disturbing and annoying. Many parents also do not want to pursue a profession in which they have to work with children on a daily basis. All of the parenting guides, educational advice centers or parenting programs are not necessary because parents do not love their children, but because they often do not understand them or do not know how to react or act. Much of what parents do to themselves and their children is done out of love. Precisely because the feelings are so powerful and they ride roller coasters, they sometimes act so incomprehensible or even cruel for outside observers. For example, they say goodbye to their child until they cry. Or they say to a child who still wants to play a little bit ready: “If you don’t come right now, I’ll go without you." These are all things that a good educational professional would not do (unless she acts as a mother or father). The educator is partisan for all children, but impartial towards individual children. She has no favorite children and no outcast children. The child can expect a certain behavior from a teacher, but not a certain feeling, and the teacher cannot use her feelings as a yardstick for her professional behavior. Rather, she would ask: "What is the consequence of my behavior? How do I have to behave towards the child in order to support it in its development?"
Educators remain independent in their personal decisions – parents and children are dependent on one another: the relationship between educator and child is limited in time and to certain situations in life, the relationship with parents always exists for a lifetime. An educator can look forward to an end of work or change jobs after a hard day, a mother cannot quit her busy child. Parents and children are bound together.
Children can see these qualitative differences in relationships very well – often better than adults – and they become confused or angry when adults commit to crossing borders. For example, children are often jealous when their mothers are busy with other children in the group, while they consider it “normal” for the teachers" feel.

Bond or relationship? That is the question

The word attachment is used very often in the current educational discussion about childcare outside the home. On the one hand, it has become a kind of fashion term, similar to the terms knowledge or literacy. Binding theory became a leading theory, just as brain research has become a leading research. Unfortunately, this does not clarify the scientific meaning of the term bond. There are very different ideas about what binding could mean. As early as 1985, Daniel Stern wrote “The experience of life of the infant": "The attachment theory, which has grown out of its origins in psychoanalysis and ethology and has also adopted the methods and perspectives of developmental psychology, now captures phenomena on numerous levels:" Attachment "can be a complex of child behavior, a motivational system , a relationship between mother and child, a theoretical construct and a subjective experience of the child in the form of internal ‘work models’." (Stern 1994, p. 45)
Since the relationship between mother / father and child is also described with bond, one can quickly reach a critical point in conversation with parents, which leads to misunderstandings. In order not to jeopardize a successful transition, educators should consider their statements in this context very carefully and not use pedagogical keywords. Your own professional competence becomes clearer if the connections are explained in such a way that they are easy to understand even for pedagogical laypersons.

Private mother-child bond

John Bowlby (1907 – 1990) is considered the father of attachment theory. According to Bowlby, attachment behavior is evolutionary. In mammals, for example, it is supposed to guarantee that the young animal and the mother do not simply flee when they are in danger, but look for one, since the young animal would be lost without the mother. Binding is universal. This means that in the first 24 months there is always a bond between the mother and the child when it is present. For Bowlby, attachment was not just an instinctive behavior, it also contains a strong psychic component in humans: “Many of the most intense feelings accompany the formation, maintenance, interruption and renewal of attachment relationships. The formation of a bond is described as ‘falling in love’, the maintenance of a bond ‘being loved someone’. The unencumbered maintenance of a bond is experienced as a source of security and the renewal of a bond as a source of joy." (Bowlby 1987, p. 24)
So attachment means a permanent and emotional orientation towards another person, which leads to the fact that the persons connected to each other seek the closeness of the other, suffer from a separation, look forward to the return of the person and also orientate themselves when they is not in the immediate vicinity. With this idea of ​​attachment, Bowlby was able to explain why attachment occurs between parents and children when parents don’t do their children good, if they even hate them, and why children also suffer from separation from parents who are by no means sensitive to them have dealt with. In this sense, attachment is part of the parent-child relationship – inevitable, but not positive per se or beneficial to development. Many people suffer from insecure or ambivalent relationships for a lifetime.
According to Bowlby, this relationship experience creates various inner working models of attachment. Classic attachment research differentiated three, later four attachment types: secure attachment, insecure-avoiding attachment, insecure-ambivalent attachment and unsafe-disorganized attachment.
Although Bowlby and other attachment researchers repeatedly speak of the close bond between parents and children, of the strong emotional connection, they do not want to speak of dependency in this regard, because they already associate something derogatory, sick, perhaps addictive with this term: " The concept of attachment is very different from the concept of dependency. , In addition, the concept of dependency is assigned values ​​that are in exact contrast to those conveyed by the attachment concept. While it is almost a disgrace to call a person dependent, it can very well be an expression of appreciation when you say that you are bound to someone" (op. cit., p. 25). Here, attachment theory tries to strip off the mechanisms that make up the core element of the theory: Why should unhappy attachments affect people for life and limit their freedom if they can be thought of without emotional dependence? Why do young people work so hard on their parents? Why do 40-year-olds still hold their parents responsible for injustice in their lives if there was no emotional dependency here? Whoever binds is not free or independent. He will think about the other person in all situations. We have no choice, our children, parents or siblings choose. We have to learn to deal with the situation we were born into.
Every mountaineer knows that the belaying person also needs a good stance if they do not want to be dragged into the depth when they slide off. You cannot stay independent and just go away when you are connected to another person. Binding is not a one-way street: Not only are children bound to parents, parents are too.
Since the word attachment already suggests that both people are emotionally connected and dependent on one another, in large parts of toddler education, attachment has only been used in connection with private relationships. Educators are respectful, sensitive and respectful towards the children entrusted to them – not because they have fallen in love with these children, but because they want to support and promote their development. However, educators remain independent of the children in their personal and private decisions. They determine when they want to go on vacation, when they want to change jobs or start studying. And they don’t have to coordinate these decisions with the parents or the children. In order to make this difference clear, the Munich framework for urban crèches, for example, does not speak of a bond, but of a trusting educator-child relationship.

Professional teacher-child relationship

In the beginning, most attachment theorists had a very skeptical to negative attitude towards childcare, education and upbringing of young children. They feared that the mother-child bond could be damaged by contact with other adults and the frequent separation experiences and could not imagine that a professional specialist could develop a similarly sensitive attitude to the parents towards an infant. Like in the majority of the population, their ideas were shaped by orphanages, in which children had to spend their day in cribs, by mass feeding, changing on the assembly line and hours of potty sitting. No one wanted such a situation to the toddlers without real need. Nurseries were only accepted in extreme emergencies.
It is thanks to the Hungarian pediatrician Emmi Pikler (1902 – 1984) that better conditions were created for orphans. From 1946 she took in orphans in her institute (the L? Czy) in Budapest. For working with the children, she developed principles of education that significantly influenced infant care worldwide and are still important today for professional work in day nurseries and for private maternal education. She realized that the developmental deficits in the orphans were due to two problem areas: The children lacked the opportunity to move freely and according to their level of development. And they lacked good quality relationships with reliable adults. Based on these findings, Emmi Pikler fundamentally changed the life in her institute. The rooms were redesigned so that the children were given a wide range of opportunities to move freely, to experiment with different materials or their own bodies and to make contact with other children. The adults deliberately held back in these game situations. They created safe spaces for the children, protected them from dangers, but otherwise let them do it at their own pace and in their own rhythm. In contrast, in the care situations, the adults devoted themselves intensively to the children. Here every single child received individual contact and undivided attention. Here, too, the adults adjusted themselves to the child’s pace. They showed the child that they understood his signals, answered him with physical attention and eye contact, and explained their actions verbally. The children experienced themselves as subjects who can make a difference in adults, and not just as objects of care. From the beginning, Emmi Pikler endeavored to document her new way of working with the children and the changes in the children. The film and photo material, the written records, articles and books still offer very good foundations to study the principles of Emmi Pikler’s pedagogical work and to understand the basic pedagogical attitudes.
These principles of raising infants and young children can be summarized in three main points:

  • A healthy lifestyle;
  • a good quality relationship with reliable adults who offer the child a safe environment;
  • Respect for the child’s own pace and rhythm of approaching other people or things.

However, Emmi Pikler did not create illusory worlds for the children in her institute. It seemed essential for the healthy development of the child’s personality and identity that the children should not be left unclear about their origins, their families and their lives in L? Czy. You should know that in L? Czy they were accompanied, encouraged and supported by professional specialists and not by their parents. The caregivers always told the children about their parents and helped them to get to know their roots and build a relationship, even when their parents were no longer alive. Every child should know that they have a mother and a father.
This clarity is also of great importance for adult carers. They can only stay healthy in this profession, support and support the children if they accept that their living together is limited in time and that their work and influence must withstand the present (Baumann 2008).
This attitude has a deeply humanistic claim. The child not only grows trust in a person, it grows trust in a social institution. The child learns that it is not dependent on the love of a person, but rather experiences that children are valued in this society and that this will always ensure that the child receives help, support and support so that it can develop its abilities, can develop and develop into an independent and socially competent person.
Attachment research has been concerned with the quality of mother-child attachment for many years and has the concept of “sensitivity" Behaviors described that contribute to a safe mother-child bond. It is therefore important to respond promptly and reliably to the child’s needs. This gives it similar characteristics to research into parenting styles. According to Beller (2002), the behavior of the educator significantly influences the development of young children. It turned out to be beneficial if the teacher took a basic democratic attitude and involved the children in decisions. Educators with a responsive and autonomous parenting style support the children in their development in a particularly advantageous manner. A responsive parenting style was understood by the parenting style research as behaviors such as visual and verbal attention, reacting to the signals of the child, needs-based adaptation to the child. An autonomous parenting style includes behaviors such as: The teacher encourages exploration; she asks the child if they want help before intervening: it enables and supports autonomy and shows interest or praises the child. It turned out to be particularly negative if the educator, controlled, controlled the child emotionally, humiliated or embarrassed or behaved indifferently towards him. An inadequate Laisser-faire upbringing style was often seen in the fact that the employees spoke more to each other and more about the children than with the children.

No hierarchy in relationships

In the educational literature, the term attachment is currently also applied to the educator-child relationship. One speaks of a hierarchy of attachment relationships. Educators are then considered secondary or tertiary attachment persons. This terminology is problematic: it blurs the qualitative boundaries of relationships. A hierarchy could be understood as a ranking and suggest that these are purely quantitative differences. In this way, bonding is reduced to a pure behavioral pattern.
The inner psychological relationship messages that made Bowlby the nature of attachment are negated. A mother signals to her child with a similar behavior a completely different relationship message than an educator. The intentions, goals and motives that guide their behavior. are different. A mother does this because she loves her child, an educator because it is her job and she is paid for it. A child develops an insecure bond to a mother who is not sensitive, and still suffers from separation from her. On the other hand, the child does not develop a bond with an educator who does not behave sensitively, but a bad relationship. The child would not suffer from a separation from this teacher.
Child daycare facilities are childhood workshops. They are the first “jobs" for children where they can develop their skills with other children. Adults, too, sometimes spend more time a day with colleagues than with friends and family. And it is not uncommon for relationships among colleagues to be less stressful, cheerful, friendly, communicative, stimulating, interesting, appreciative, etc. Of course, emotions also play a role in professional relationships. But sympathy or antipathy cannot replace reflection, and quantity cannot replace quality. Sometimes colleagues become friends or lovers. But it would be devastating if we could no longer see the differences in relationships. It is precisely this broad spectrum of different relationships that we can use as a resource. Children are no less important to children than adults, they are important in a different way. Educators are no less important than parents, but are important in a different way for the development of children. A realistic view of the range of your own sphere of influence protects against overwhelming and sharpens the eye for opportunities. Educators can then offer children a lot of security and give them a wealth of experience. Resilience research has shown that other people can be relieving for children in difficult parent-child relationships, even if they cannot have lasting ties to them. The school assistant, the kiosk owner, the teacher, the neighbor or the caretaker – they can all support children a little and enrich their lives. New employees often report in further training that they were received by the children much more openly and with much less distrust than by the parents. It is no wonder that parents were told during the settling-in period that the relationship with this one reference teacher is the decisive pillar for the well-being of the child. “The relationship between the familiarization teacher and the child often remains special in the daycare for many years." (Andres 2008, p. 16) Such statements are used to make promises to parents that cannot (be kept) in reality and to place educators under unnecessary emotional pressure.
From the perspective of attachment theory, there are three goals that have to be achieved during settling in:
• The crèche is not a “strange situation" more if the child is to remain there alone.
• The educator develops a trusting relationship with the child on the basis of professional insight (professional sensitivity). There is no emotional dependency.
• The educator supports the parents in developing a safe mother / father-child bond.


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Christina Cherry
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