We are crèche specialists!
We talked to our Deputy Head of Education, Silvia Wick, about the opportunities and challenges presented by taking in children at such an early stage.
MH: At MINIHAUS München, we take children from as young as 9 weeks of age. What are the challenges and opportunities presented by this age in terms of acclimatization, care and the acquisition of social skills?
SW: The acclimatization process at MINIHAUS München is generally a very relaxed one, characterized by a great deal of physical proximity. Our education professionals pay a great deal of attention to the emotional wellbeing of our youngest children. Above all, this covers the need for food, personal hygiene and a regular sleep pattern - and yet these babies are already experiencing the group, sensing the atmosphere and absorbing everything through sounds, colours and verbal contact. We never lose sight of the children and at MINIHAUS, make 100 % certain that at all times, our education professionals recognize and react accordingly to the needs of the children.
The first few days, when the focus is getting to know the group, are a challenge, but this social integration represents a significant gain, and not only for the babies; social learning, which makes the children strong for the future, is already beginning.
We all benefit from this wonderful initial time, because people are social animals from the very outset, wanting to experience community, make contact and copy other people – the loveliest example being by smiling.
MH: Children at this age are bound to have a particular need for safety and security. How does MINIHAUS meet this need?
SW: There is a named individual responsible for every baby at MINIHAUS München. This applies to both the acclimatization period and beyond. Before care even officially starts, there is initial contact between the education professional and the child, followed by intensive familiarization with his or her requirements in order to build up a strong bond. We have over ten years’ experience of looking after children from the age of 9 weeks in our crèches and nurseries - and across the group, also have over 40 years’ experience in childcare. The safety of every baby is guaranteed by our trained staff who ensure all the needs of our youngest children are met.
MH: So how are educational professionals prepared for work with babies?
SW: First there are intensive preparatory discussions with the nursery manager. Our heads of education – with over 25 years’ experience in childcare – then provide support and advice directly on site in the first few days of the acclimatization period. We hold team meetings and training sessions, then produce written reflections on the first few days of acclimatization. These reflections always take an individual approach to both child and parents.
Parents are welcome at any time during the acclimatization stage. We organize the initial separation to suit the individual rhythm of both children and parents to ensure that all those involved are comfortable with the situation. For the first few days of separation, parents sit in the parent café where they can have a coffee and even work.
MH: What kind of feedback do you get from parents who leave their children in our facilities from this age?
SW: Even after only a short time, all parents feed back that they feel very comfortable at MINIHAUS München. After as many as six years with us, some parents can still remember their first day and would always choose our daycare facilities again.