Live from the ERASMUS internship abroad
Dear readers of this blog,
I have now completed half of my internship. I have got used to my new day-to-day work in the German kindergarten in London and now I want to tell you about it.
My day-to-day work in London starts at 8 a.m. Once in the kindergarten, the first step is to prepare the premises for the children. The kindergarten rents the building from the scouts who use the rooms every evening. It is probably common here in England that premises are used by different organizations. Therefore, all toys, tables, chairs, etc. must be set up daily and put away again in the afternoon. But this also has advantages, because the range of games can be adapted to the needs of the children, so that the range of toys can be varied. Therefore, the first task of the day is: laying carpets, building toys and setting up tables. In addition, special daytime activities, such as making lanterns, must be prepared. A short team meeting then takes place. Here we go through the daily routine again, discuss special activities or events of the past few days. Furthermore, tasks are distributed in which I am increasingly involved and assigned my own tasks.
The first children reach kindergarten from 8.30 a.m. My job at this point is to give the children a friendly greeting and make it easier for them to start playing. Children can freely choose where and with whom they want to play during the free play. For example, there is a carpeting, a doll and cladding corner and a play kitchen. You can paint, tinker or knead at the tables. My main task during the free play is to solve any conflicts or to encourage individual children to take part in play activities.
The cleaning time begins at 9.45 a.m. As already mentioned, the premises must be brought back to their actual condition. This is done in cooperation with the children. All children help with tidying up, so that a circle of chairs can then be placed in the room.
At the beginning of the circle of chairs (also called the children’s group) I choose a child who uses a bell to initiate the circle of chairs. Then current topics are discussed with the children or songs are sung. In the past month, we have dealt a lot with the autumn and St. Martin season.
At 10.30 a.m. we go to breakfast. I am sitting at the table with a smaller group of children. For me, the first thing is to serve the children as a contact person at breakfast and to give help. From time to time the children have to be encouraged to eat what they have brought with them so that they have enough strength for the rest of the morning.
A focus of the kindergarten is nature education. Therefore, the children spend several hours a day in the garden – whatever the weather. That is why around 11 a.m. it is time to get dressed for playing in the garden! Mud pants, rubber boots, rain jacket, hat and scarf are a must at this time of year!
There are many activities in the garden for the children to take part in: a workbench, a climbing frame and many other outdoor toys. On some days there are also group activities or handicrafts. Each of the educators takes over part of the supervision here. Therefore, my tasks are, for example, supervision at the workbench and teaching the correct use of tools.
Since the kindergarten has a very large garden and it is not surrounded by fences in every direction, it is all the more important that we educators divide up well and have an eye on the exits of the garden provided with barrier tape. The children know these red barrier tapes and know that they serve as a "stop symbol".
The pick-up time begins at 12.30 p.m. However, many children stay in the kindergarten in the afternoon. At 12.45 p.m. I go in for lunch with another teacher and the children. Then it’s time to move again! Take off mud pants, rubber boots and rain jacket!
At lunch my job is similar to breakfast. I am assigned to a table and give help with eating. Believe me, it is not that easy that the food ends up in the children’s mouth!
Then I go into the "rest phase" with a small group of children. This is a little break that the children can use to relax or to take an afternoon nap. I mostly read stories here to create a calm atmosphere.
Since I am in a nature kindergarten, I go back to the garden afterwards. Rubber boots, mud pants, rain jacket on again! Again I help the children and then I go to the garden with the supervision.
My working day ends at 4 p.m. and I go home.
What is different now compared to a kindergarten in Germany?
First of all, the children have different backgrounds, why they are in London Life, where they were born and what languages their parents speak. Some children speak more German than English, some more English than German. All grow up bilingual, some even trilingual. The children’s linguistic development is therefore an essential focus in the kindergarten.
The children are raised bilingually. Some teachers only speak German, others only English with the children. This is specifically defined and will be consistently maintained. I speak German with the children. There is a special language training offer twice a week after breakfast. Accompanied by an educator and a hand puppet, the children learn in a playful way to communicate in the respective language.
I also have to be flexible when communicating with parents. Some parents don’t speak German. Evenings for parents are held in English and supported with a German PowerPoint presentation. There is also a monthly newsletter for parents, which is published in both English and German.
Although it is a German kindergarten, the English language is very important.
The kindergarten is also culturally diverse. Due to the many cultures that come together in the kindergarten, not only German festivals are celebrated. This enables parents from other cultures to present their celebrations in the daily chair circles. Thus, the children get to know many festivals and cultures.
So, that’s it! Of course there are other activities that are tied to the respective day of the week (for example, on Friday is "nature day", where we spend the whole day in the garden). I learn a lot about early childhood education. In particular, nature education and bilingual education are focal points that are very helpful for my teaching degree. My language skills have also improved significantly since my previous stay in London.
Here is a photo of a joint activity with the children, in which a funny reindeer was created from footprints and handprints.
Until the next blog entry!
4 thoughts on “My daily work in a multilingual kindergarten in London”
Thank you for the great and interesting information about your internship abroad in London! &# 128578;
I am currently planning an internship abroad for 2016, which is also relevant for my teaching degree.
What kindergarten are you in London? And how did you come to this internship position if i may ask? Do you have any tips for Action when applying for a kindergarten in London?
I would be very happy to receive an answer! &# 128578;
Thank you very much and best regards,
thanks for your comment (:
If you google “Naturkindergarten London” you will find my kindergarten.
Like you, I got a lot of information beforehand about the possibilities and wrote to some kindergartens in Great Britain. The application (by email) actually consisted of a simple CV and a letter of application (plus everything that can be attached to an application). I have received no feedback from many. However, my current job answered and immediately pointed out that trial work is a prerequisite for an internship. I think you might have to adjust to that, especially when it comes to working with children. So I flew to London, looked at the kindergarten and worked for two days. Then I was informed that I had the internship.
My tip is that you send applications as early as possible. German kindergartens in particular have many inquiries. You should also write to many different institutions. Unfortunately, you have to expect that some of them will not answer at all.
You should also note the trial work. It may well be that many institutions have this as a prerequisite for offering an internship.
Another tip is otherwise: If London is the city where (understandably) you absolutely want to do the internship, you should think about housing options and financing from the start. This makes things a lot easier for you (:
If you have any further questions, feel free to ask them (:
London is a really interesting city and working in kindergarten is a lot of fun (:
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