Open work in kindergarten – the role of the educator in open work

Open work in kindergartens is the term that is discussed in a very polarizing and controversial way and where open work is implemented the appearance is very diverse. Again and again the term “half-open” makes the rounds. Often this is based on the understanding of open work as open doors. Also, half-open gives the impression that one does not dare openly. "If you’re open to everything, you can’t be completely tight" was a spontaneous saying in the 80s.

The fears are lack of commitment, chaos and arbitrariness and that everyone does what he wants.

However, open work is much more comprehensive and I would like to encourage everyone to deal with the concept because it is so joyful. Open work is a paradigm shift towards a different picture of the child, a different understanding of learning. It is about the change from wanting to change to the ethics of understanding. The child is an actor in its development.

To begin with, open means personal openness to something new and different, to make all the resources of a daycare center available to everyone. Openness to the needs of children to make every child a rose. The children can play with everyone, the adults work in different constellations, the rooms and materials are available to everyone. This way you get to know each other to the maximum and learn from and with each other.

In “Open Kindergarten Concrete”, Gerhard Regel and Axel Wieland formulated some questions about openness. The most important with regard to children, colleagues and parents are:

  • I am open to the children, as they meet me and the others, open to the peculiarities of their life history and life situation?
  • I am ready for needs-based pedagogy and I want to take into account special development needs in individual children and to be appropriately supportive and supportive?
  • Am I ready to approach my colleagues openly, perceive and allow differences, to grow together with them into a cooperative working group? What am i willing to give?
  • I am open to other opinions and intentions of the parents, open to discussion and understanding, and to the fears that children cannot learn enough if the game is given priority?

I would like to tell the story of Martin, which makes it clear what joyful things happen when you work openly: Martin, a 4-year-old boy, is new to the daycare center. It quickly becomes apparent that he is a very energetic boy and that it is difficult to be considerate when playing with others. Yes, there were also violent fits. All of this pushed the educators to their limits. They called for support from the management and were of the opinion that the parents urgently needed advice. However, we remained very consistent with the question: "What can we do here in the daycare so that Martin feels comfortable?" How can we make Martin a rose? It was new to develop an understanding of his needs instead of wanting to change them. Martin learned over time that in a community everyone has to get along, all children learned that each of them is accepted as it is. The adults got to know each other better and sat down like this with their different positions apart.

The educator with a passion for the studio found a special language with Martin: he expressed himself in pictures, she was attentive. After 2 years we let Martin go to school: we had seen him grow and will miss him after many years of further fruitful confrontation with the Principle of action research and changed meetings in the team in which everyone developed and the parents were involved in extensive work, the educators said: "And we can get them all!" "We can not imagine anything else.

In team training, I often asked the question: "When are you happy and satisfied?" The answers were mostly: "If I can do what I want."

Open work is a process of self-knowledge.

The compact video course on open work

Susanne Günsch offers the course on this topic here on KiPort "Open work – more than open doors" on. 9 compact video lessons are about the advantages of open Work, the development of a structure for open work and the participation of children and parents: direct link to the course


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Christina Cherry
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