Kindergarten / pre-kindergarten

Our highly-qualified employees look after children until they start primary school.

The children attend the kindergarten from 8.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. Monday to Friday. It is closed on Wednesdays. On these days, and when the kindergarten is closed, the children can take part in our crèche programme from 7.00 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. Our crèche programme also runs during the school holidays and consists of all-day childcare with a programme of activities and fresh organic food.

The concept of the Ameisenburg kindergarten is based on the curriculum of the canton of Zurich. This ensures that the subsequent transition to primary school is a smooth one and that the kindergarten prepares the children exceptionally well.

Our aim is to support every single child in their natural curiosity, their thirst for knowledge, their willingness to experiment and their constant energy. We make learning fun for the children, and encourage the development of their personality and positive characteristics.

Our work is based on: 
• The curriculum of the canton of Zurich
• Elements of kindergartens with an international outlook
• Lessons conducted in: German / English

The 5 educational pillars
• Language development
• Mathematical skills & basic knowledge of physics/chemistry
• Social skills and communication of values
• Encouraging creativity in the arts disciplines (music, dance, design)
• Exercise, body awareness and experience of nature

1. Language development

Making language discovery fun. At our kindergarten, the teachers teach in their respective mother tongue. This helps the children to learn a foreign language authentically. The language lessons are supplemented by audio-visual methods (picture stories and audio CDs).

Scenes are set out in pictures and the dialogues accompanying them are played on audio CDs. The children repeat the dialogues first, and scenes are then played freely.

The kindergarten teachers adapt the structure of their work to the age and linguistic composition of the groups.

One key factor in learning ability is the emotions the children have when carrying out activities. For this reason, it is essential for the kindergarten teacher and language teacher to build up a good relationship with the children.

To express their own experiences, knowledge, statements and feelings, it is important for children to interact with other children and adults. This enables them to acquire non-verbal and verbal forms of communication. For children, words and sentences become meaningful if they are associated with real experiences and actions. This is how children develop an interest in language. A multilingual approach (Swiss German, German and English) results in enhanced language awareness.

2. Mathematical skills & basic knowledge of physics/chemistry

At our kindergarten, basic mathematical skills are communicated using the very latest methods. Initial maths lessons are geared towards the latest research results based on neurophysiological principles and genetic theories of cognition. Teaching aids at the state schools in Zurich are taken into account, ensuring a good start to school life.

Maths lessons are based on: 
Recognition of laws:
• Patterns of all kinds, with rules of the order of symmetry
• Classification of objects with different criteria
• Shapes, colours, sizes

Understanding of quantities and the possibilities of subdivision, development of different counting strategies:
• Abstraction principle, order irrelevance
• Finding own individual solutions

Basic knowledge of physics and chemistry: 
Through trips to the nearby forest, the children gain a basic understanding of physics and chemistry in a sensory manner with the help of nature. For instance, they see that the forest pond freezes over in winter and that water can therefore take on different forms. In addition, wind experiments can be easily carried out in the open.
Nature teaches the children to make environmental connections. This knowledge encourages the children to recognise new connections in other areas.

3. Social skills and communication of values

Communication of values and enhancement of social skills are top priorities at Ameisenburg, and are incorporated into all activities on a daily basis. The children learn to name the various feelings and perceive them in themselves and others. This forms a basis for development of empathy and helps the children to find their own identity whilst also learning to understand the feelings of others. Children develop these skills slowly at around four years of age.

• Children’s understanding of themselves as unique
• Knowing and adhering to rules of living together
• Children’s understanding of themselves as part of a culture

At Ameisenburg, the children are helped to perceive their own strengths and weaknesses and deal with success and failure. They learn that mistakes are a part of life. Independent activity is encouraged, e.g. brushing teeth. The children are encouraged to express their own opinions and thoughts and try out and risk new things. All these activities are intended to help the children to develop a strong, healthy sense of self-worth. As a result, they can stand up for themselves if their needs are not respected.

Knowing and adhering to rules of living together
Ameisenburg firmly believes in a group climate, as quality learning is only possible in a good atmosphere. We are keen to ensure that children learn to value and respect each other. Cultivation of relationships is fostered by working in small groups. In this way, the children learn how to empathise with different children and show consideration for them. Through group activities, they see themselves as part of the group and also learn how to make joint decisions and take on responsibility. This is about learning how to put aside their own immediate needs and experience a sense of togetherness. In play, the children learn to respect and pay attention to other children’s achievements and respect the rules of fairness.

At Ameisenburg, conflicts are regarded as an important opportunity:

• To look for suitable solutions to conflicts
• Rituals for successful conflict resolution such as making up
• Learning to say sorry
• Learning how to handle conflicts

Children’s understanding of themselves as part of a culture: 
At Ameisenburg, children learn about and celebrate various festivals, customs and rituals. This enhances their understanding of the diversity of people. Children come into contact with vital issues in various areas, and are interested in them. These topics are dealt with in a child-oriented, playful way. In role-play and through theatre and storybooks, social skills and values are learned and enhanced, whilst background and other opinions are asked about and discussed. By means of discussions, the children are taught how to express their own opinion, accept others and adhere to simple conversation rules.

4. Encouraging creativity in the arts disciplines

It must be pointed out that the learning processes takes place in the context of play at the kindergarten stage, and they are therefore interdisciplinary. At Ameisenburg, the children are actively encouraged to be creative. The skills acquired in this way also help to enhance other skills. Creativity encourages flexible thought processes for arriving at new, individual solutions.

Rhythmic, musical singing enhances skills:

• Recognition of patterns
• Language skills
• Fine motor skills when making music with instruments
• Gross motor skills when dancing
• Spatial awareness as an essential requirement for geometric knowledge when dancing

5. Exercise, body awareness and experience of nature

In nature, the children are able to have sensory experiences and familiarise themselves with this area. This link with everyday life makes learning child-oriented and easy. The children experience nature and get to know various species of tree, watch animals or lay out a garden. In doing so, they learn how to treat themselves and other life forms with care and consideration. This forms a sound basis for developing social skills.

Through structured and free activities, the children discover natural habitats. In regular visits to the outdoors, they familiarise themselves with the different seasons.

Wind and weather help them to understand the continuity and cycles of life.

Visits to the forest also encourage the children to walk on uneven ground, thus enhancing their gross motor skills and sense of balance. Balancing skills help children in terms of their own body awareness and their subsequent behaviour in traffic, e.g. when cycling or learning to ski and in other sporting activities. All of the children’s senses are heightened, which stimulates their thought processes.

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