Preschools are meant to be children targeted prepare for the requirements in primary school. In addition to special preschools, preschool education is also increasingly being carried out by kindergartens.
There are currently hardly any preschools in Germany. They were originally intended as the first school instance between kindergarten and elementary school to prepare children for future school achievements. A preschool is definitely a useful offer to make the transition from kindergarten to elementary school easier.
In this way, children in preschool are introduced to the new challenge of sitting at a table for a longer period of time and concentrating on one task. And especially children who have not yet reached school level by the age of 6 receive targeted and separate support in preschool. Discrimination against children, for example due to their social background, should also be reduced by visiting preschools.
Pre-school offers in the individual federal states
Since education policy is a national issue in Germany, there are also different offers in the area of preschool in every federal state. In the following, the different handling of preschools is explained using some examples.
In Berlin, language problems in children with a migration background are particularly difficult in primary schools. That is why the so-called “Law on Preschool Language Promotion” was enacted here in 2005. This means that children have to take a test one year before attending primary school, which tests their language level. If linguistic deficits are found in this test, the children can take part in targeted support that takes place in a day care center for youth welfare. Information on this is available from the responsible school authority.
In Baden-Württemberg there is no explicit offer for a preschool. However, children who have not yet reached the appropriate school-leaving age by the age of 6 do not remain in kindergarten for another year, but can receive targeted support in special support classes at primary school. In addition to linguistic skills, social, promoting graphomotor and cognitive skills. After the year in the support class, regular schooling can take place at the elementary school.
Hamburg is the only federal state where there is still a wide range of preschools. These are usually located at primary schools, but offer a different teaching than the first class of primary school. School-age children who are not yet ready for school are admitted to pre-school. The model is similar to that in Baden-Württemberg, but in Hamburg it is part of the standard range.
Other support for the transition to primary school
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When the transition to primary school issues a preschool is not always necessary. Many children simply need some time to get to school and to get used to the new requirements. Both parents and elementary schools can provide some help. For example, a playful introduction to the learning environment should take place in the 1st school year.
In some schools there is also the so-called ‘Buddy program‘. The pupils of the 1st and 2nd class learn together at the beginning of the new school year. So the little ones should be able to see from the "big ones" how it ‘works with school’. In addition, the grown-ups can perhaps answer the questions of the little ones more satisfactorily than adults could. It often helps if the parents go to school with their child at the beginning of the school year. Offers such as the ‘Open House’ are particularly suitable for this.
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