Preface to Institutional Analysis and Reflection
In the first year of our apprenticeship, we were given the task of writing an activity report. This includes the institutional analysis about our kindergarten and a personal reflection about the first year of training in the institution. The analysis is primarily concerned with the factual examination of the educational institution. What is the pedagogical approach? What is the structure and environment? Is there collaboration and cooperation? It is therefore, as the name implies, an objective and neutral analysis of the facility without judgment.
Reflection is about personal experience and development during the internship period. What have I noticed during my personal reflection as an educator? Have the areas of analysis been put into practice? How were these implemented or how did I fare during my practical time? Here, of course, it is important to be honest with yourself. It is best to talk about some areas with your instructor as well.
Please note that due to data protection regulations small parts of the elaboration are missing or had to be modified. The overall character of the work is nevertheless preserved and offers you a good insight into the structure and implementation of an activity report as an educator. Especially during the reflection you will get a personal insight about my development in the first year. In this section you will also find as italic font the newly acquired or deepened competencies.
Institutional analysis during educator training
External structure of the facility
Location of the facility
The Anna Haag daycare center is located at Martha-Schmidtmann-Strasse 16, which belongs to the Stuttgart district of Espan as well as the city district of Bad Cannstatt. The location in the district is outside, close to the Bad Cannstatt Clinic. The Anna Haag multigenerational house is also located at the address of the daycare center. It is interesting to know that the Anna Haag House is Germany’s oldest multigenerational house. For this reason, the daycare center is deliberately integrated into the multi-generation house.
The facility can be reached on foot, by car and by public transport. For this purpose, the streetcar lines U1, U16, the S-Bahn with the lines S2, S3 as well as the bus line N6 can be used.
With the Kindervilla Anna Haag in Memminger Straße 4, there is another separate daycare center in the Bad Cannstatt district. This is within a 10-minute walk from the Anna Haag daycare center.The living conditions in the Bad Cannstatt district are mixed and range from socially disadvantaged to affluent families. Here in particular, the proportion of foreigners (28.3%) and the proportion of people with an immigrant background (50%) are above the Stuttgart average.
Catchment area of the day care center
The catchment area of the daycare center is in Stuttgart Bad Cannstatt. However, the focus is mainly on children of the Espan district. Registration of children is possible through the registration form provided by the Youth Welfare Office. Parents will then receive a kindergarten-specific form to fill out.
However, prior to this, parents must attend a pre-registration appointment at the daycare center. This is held eight to ten times a year on Fridays at 9 a.m. in the Creative Room.
Facilities in the surrounding area
There are 3 playgrounds in the vicinity of the daycare center. The Prießnitzweg playground is located right next to the Anna Haag daycare center. The playground “in den Wannenäckern/Galgenäcker” is also within 3 minutes walking distance from the daycare center. The third playground is a play area of St. Stephen’s Church and is also within 5 minutes walking distance. For shopping with children could serve the nearby Penny supermarket. This is also located in Martha-Schmidtmann-Straße and can be reached within 5 minutes. Educational institutions include the district library in Kneippweg (300 m away) and the Wilhelm Maybach School.
Exciting facilities for children in the area include the Stuttgart Federal Police Station, which is located directly opposite the daycare center, and the Stuttgart Bad Cannstatt district farm , which is within walking distance.
Internal structure of the facility
The daycare center’s hours of operation are from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the facility is open continuously Monday through Friday. The care time of the youngest children from 0 to 1 year is limited to the time from 8 am to 4 pm. The facility is closed during the summer and between Christmas and New Year. In total, there are a maximum of 23 closing days per year.
Currently, the opening hours are limited by Corona to 07:30 am to 15:30 pm.
Capacity & Groups
The Anna Haag daycare center offers a total of 70 childcare places in five groups. The age of the children in our care ranges from three months to school age. The groups are composed as follows:
- Blue group (0-1 year old children, maximum 8 children)
- Orange group (1-2 year old children, maximum 10 children)
- Green group (2-3 year old children, maximum 12 children)
- Yellow group (3-6 year old children, maximum 20 children)
- Red group (3-6 year old children, maximum 20 children)
As of March 2021, all seats at the facility are occupied. There is a waiting list for children whose siblings are already being cared for at the daycare center. These are also accepted preferentially.
Differentiated description of the green group
The age structure of the green group in which I observe is 2.5 to 3.5 years. The group includes 4 girls as well as 8 boys, so a total of 12 children. A special feature of our group also includes the inclusion of a child with physical disabilities.
There are no children of refugees or recent immigrant parents in our group. A cultural diversity (different nations) of the parents is nevertheless present. (Anna Haag Multigenerational House 2020)
Staffing of the Anna Haag daycare center
There are a total of 11 full-time, 100% positions at the facility. Furthermore, there are 7 positions with an employment amount between 60 and 80%. In addition, the management of the facility is added with a 100% position. A PIA intern is also employed at the kindergarten.
This results in a total headcount of 20 employees. Of these, 4 are men. All employees have a pedagogical education or are currently completing it. Employees also receive regular training and continuing education. Each group has a group leader. There is a separate regular team meeting for this leadership team. Unfortunately, an organization chart does not exist for the facility.
The facility also has kitchen and cleaning staff. However, they are employed through the Anna Haag House and not directly through the kindergarten. (Goetz 15.03.2021)
Overview of the pedagogically relevant rooms
In the Anna Haag daycare center, each group has its own group room and adjoining room. Within the group rooms there are various play areas, which are designed differently according to age group and can be divided into the following areas:
- Role play area
- Design area
- Book corner
- Painting studio
- Movement building site
- Sleeping and resting area
Each group eats together with the educators in their own rooms. For example, the sleeping area of the green group is set up in the construction area during the meal, thus changing its function for a short time.
There is a large outdoor area for playing. This is shared by all groups and includes, among other things, a swing, climbing landscape, slide, ground trampoline as well as a sandbox and a water play area. The features of the outdoor play area also include the presence of fruit trees and shrubs. A gym is also available to all groups, including children’s groups from Kindervilla Anna Haag (e.g. for weekly children’s judo). Due to Corona, there are now times of use per group in the outdoor area and the gym is not currently being used.
Furthermore, the children’s toilet should be mentioned. All children of the different groups use these together. Due to Corona, the restroom is only used on a rotating basis and the Green group uses a converted employee restroom.
For the educational staff there is a small library, special rooms for working on the computer and a retreat for breaks. All rooms are located on one level and can be reached barrier-free .
Pedagogical approach and focus of content
Goals and focus of the facility
From my point of view, the Anna-Haag kindergarten has created a very comprehensive and in details very special kindergarten concept(intergenerational concept). This is because the concept of the kindergarten is also combined here with the spatially integrated Anna Haag multigenerational house for older people. This is remarkable in so far as I am not aware of any kindergartens that share or link a Kita concept with the concepts of other facilities or similar.
Furthermore, the concept of the kindergarten is based on diversity, difference and the connection to the self-education processes of the children. Especially here I would like to mention again the current staffing with male educators in the facility (See Staffing).
The guiding principles of the facility are derived from this:
- We meet each other in appreciation and trust. – We are in dialogue with each other.
- We act with personal responsibility and initiative. – We stand for quality and performance.
- We shape quality of life. – We are flexible and innovative.
The concept of the kindergarten with the guiding principles can be divided into the following six sub-areas. However, these are not to be seen as conceptual excerpts existing separately from one another. Rather, these areas flow into one another:
Pedagogical approach and image of man
“Two things we should give our children: Root and wings!” is a motto of the institution. He points out that children need a secure hold around them so that they can develop and grow. In this, the facility supports the children by providing a stimulating environment, boundaries and reliability, as well as space and time for self-determination. There is a lot of emphasis on exercise, nature and the environment.
Whether young or old, man or woman. Diverse role models are very important for the personality development of children. For all these reasons, the facility relies on a group concept. Through this, the children should be given orientation and security.
The intergenerational life in the Anna Haag House
Intergenerational living plays a central role at Anna Haag House. Because along with inclusion and neighborhood concepts, intergenerational living is one of the three main arteries of the facility. Children learn how to interact with young and old at the facility and thus learn tolerance, consideration and empathy as early as kindergarten age.
The children regularly perform something in the “Forum” or sing for the elderly. Also joint breakfasts, mutual visits or being together strengthens the with each other. Through this, children see older people not only as people with impairments, but as people with multiple strengths. Again, due to the Corona situation, intergenerational living is not currently possible.
The participation of children
Fostering participation in children is quite crucial for an individual and independent life, also in the community. Because through participation, children discover that they can participate, that they are allowed to exert influence, and that they can help shape the daily routine in the process.
For these reasons, participation takes place on a daily basis and continues to evolve with each age group. The daily children’s conference should also be mentioned here. In this way, the children learn about topics such as democracy, equality and participation while they are still in kindergarten.
Through this, children also learn conflict resolution strategies. With these, children can solve their disputes independently or, for example, in the case of differing opinions, discuss these communicatively and thereby communicate themselves.
The goal of the Anna Haag Kindergarten here is to support the children in maturing into an independent personality.
The situational approach with children
The facility is oriented to the individual requirements and needs of the children. This also includes the situation at home and in the surrounding area. By being given responsibility, children learn to deal with rules and setbacks while still in kindergarten. Later, as adults, children are expected to take responsibility for their own lives and face demands such as work, family and society in a positive way.
Inclusion of children
The daycare supports the inclusion of children by including them in the normal groups and has an inclusive attitude. Through this, the children experience that difference and being different is normal. The children learn to build bridges and reach out to each other. A so-called “Snoezelen room” is available for the inclusion children, which serves as a place of retreat. Through the appropriate set-up, all of the child’s senses should be activated holistically.
To implement this basic attitude, the facility has hired a (special) pedagogical assistant. This takes care of the process of inclusion through coordination and accompaniment. In cooperation with other institutions, we look for the need for support and assistance. The goal is the best interests of the child. It should be able to successfully manage the daily routine of the daycare center.
The daycare team includes employees with many years of experience in inclusion. Furthermore, employees receive regular training.
Features of the facility
In addition to the concept of the facility already mentioned so far, the
sexual education concept as a special feature. This is because the daycare center is concerned that the important area of early childhood sex education is also taken into account as part of the development of the child’s personality. Through this, the facility aims to achieve the following goals:
- Consolidate friendships and make new ones
- Body experience through mirrors, clothes, doctor’s kit and similar
- Children are educated and informed through age-appropriate books
The goal is always that the children know about their own bodies and learn to say no when they don’t like something. They should learn to express their own limits as well as to consider those of others. The children’s sense of shame is respected.
Collaboration and cooperation
Forms of cooperation with parents and families
Cooperation between educators and families is very important to the institution. Because of this, the educators are in constant exchange with the parents in order to be informed about changing conditions as well as current situations.
For this purpose, regular parents’ evenings, door-to-door talks, an annual development talk and parent surveys take place. Furthermore, parents can find information on the information board.
Unfortunately, due to the current Corona situation, I cannot share any further experience on this.
Cooperation with other institutions
Since the kindergarten is part of the Anna Haag multi-generation house, there is a regular exchange with the responsible body as well as the other facilities. The senior citizens’ center and the educational facility are particularly worthy of mention here. Outside of Corona, a three-day job shadowing program is typically held once a month. This creates new contacts and gives employees an insight into the work of other facilities.
The facility also participates in cooperation meetings with the surrounding elementary schools and kindergartens. This also includes contact with municipal institutions such as the health department, youth welfare office as well as early intervention centers such as the municipal interdisciplinary early intervention center IFF.
Unfortunately, due to the current Corona situation, I cannot share any further experience on this either.
The Covid-19 situation in kindergarten
During Corona time, all groups were in the rooms to themselves. Here, the concept had to be adapted to the current hygiene regulations. Joint events as well as visits to the elderly have not been carried out due to the risk. Likewise, the garden was cordoned off into different areas and the groups could only go into the large garden on an hourly basis on a rotating basis.
Unfortunately, this also affected the intergenerational concept, which is precisely the meeting and exchange of old and young. Efforts were made to keep contacts among colleagues to a minimum. For this purpose, even radios were purchased in order to be able to contact each other quickly and without contact.
Team meetings and employee reviews were held digitally. I also had no contact with the parents of the children. To be on the safe side, I was given a Corona quick test every Monday before I started my office visit. This allowed me to interact with colleagues and children during practice hours without a mouth guard. However, this was reversed from April onwards due to the sharp increase in the number of cases, so that all educators in the facility had to wear a mouthguard even within the group.
For further infection prevention, the facility purchased so-called lollipop tests. Parents test their children twice a week at home with these Corona rapid tests. This is intended to detect infections in children at an early stage.
The summer festival and all other festivals are also cancelled due to Corona. Basically, it can be said that a normal day at kindergarten does not take place at the moment and many activities are cancelled. Nevertheless, the children enjoy their time at the kindergarten and the facility tries its best to make the situation the best for everyone. (Anna Haag Multigenerational House 2020)
Personal reflection on the first year as an educator
In the weekly practice visit, I was able to take away the experience that the conception could not be implemented to a large extent due to the current Corona situation. Due to the spatial separation of the groups as well as the lack of joint play in the outdoor area, cross-group play times could not be offered. Likewise, arrangements between employees took place only via walkie-talkie instead of face-to-face conversations. Accordingly, the employee interviews and team meetings took place digitally.
I feel comfortable in my role as an intern. My instructor taught me all the necessary steps and together we determined the current status through regular reflection meetings. Through this, I was able to develop a willingness to examine my own values, norms and stereotypes. At the same time, the regular conversations also helped me to acquire the understanding that the development to professionalism is to be understood as a lifelong process. The cooperation with my supervisor was therefore always friendly and courteous. I even got her phone number so I could contact her if I had any questions.
During my internship so far, I have been involved in all the usual educational tasks. I was involved in the nursing field by being used for the toilet round or changing diapers. I also carried out educational measures, whether by setting targeted free play impulses or planning and implementing targeted activities. In the housekeeping area, I was able to gain experience in meal preparation, setting the dining table, and cleaning up and washing up afterwards. Here I also learned that you can involve the children through participatory measures. Through all these activities, I now see myself in a position to build pedagogical relationships and shape them professionally.
During all the time at the facility, I always felt well cared for and supported. My supervisor managed to familiarize me with new areas of responsibility through new impulses and brief discussions, so that I was then able to carry them out independently. As a result, I now have the ability to be proactive and work independently as part of a team. Therefore, from my point of view, the cooperation in the team was always harmonious and friendly. We were able to support each other, so even on busier days the stress level was within reason.
I had enjoyed working with the children very much so far. I quickly found an approach to the children and have ultimately been able to reach all of them so far. After a short time, the children listened to me and approached me on their own. There was always a shared sense of fun during offerings, outings, or other activities. The children’s trust extended to the nursing field as well. Changing diapers, the toilet round or the like was never a problem. Especially at dinner, I always had to change tables with the children, so that they were also allowed to eat with me once. The day I returned to the facility after a day of illness was formative for me. There, some kids asked me why I wasn’t there and if I would be back next Monday. Here I learned to take into account the importance of emotional bonds and social relationships in my pedagogical work.
I was able to observe in myself how I carried out targeted observations and ultimately used this data collection as a basis for methodological-didactic action. Over the internship period, I became calmer and more relaxed when dealing with multiple children. I was also able to assess some situations professionally and then decide on a pedagogically justified educator behavior (example: conflict situation between children).
My calmness and patience helped me when explaining new knowledge to the children as well as when admonishing them for what felt like the tenth time on some days. I was able to incorporate my interest in the natural sciences in particular into my everyday life. Why is the sun warm? Why is it raining and why is the ground dusty? Many questions that you first have to be able to explain in a way that is suitable for children.
My interest in exercise and sports also helped in my day-to-day work at the daycare center. We often ran around in the front yard or “flew a plane” once. This time was very nice and also helped to deepen and strengthen the relationship with the children. Especially the integration of the inclusion child was exciting and a great experience. Because of the extra support, this child was able to participate in the activities of the other children. This also gave me a deeper insight into the topics of diversity and inclusion and allowed me to take a closer and more intensive look at both sides.
The link between theory and practice was given from my point of view. Nevertheless, the merging of both parts required a higher self-effort, since at the beginning it was not always quite clear which theoretical area was now to be implemented when and how in practice. I think the time frame at school was too tight for this, especially at the beginning of the training period. It had been possible for me to apply the material I had learned in school in practice. This also helped me in practice to understand some measures.
The conversations and exchanges in particular helped me to engage in open work processes and to be able to deal with the complexity and frequent changes in my professional actions. Conversely, it was significantly more complicated. This is because we have not yet covered a lot of knowledge acquired in practice in school, and so I can neither classify nor check it at the moment.
The Corona situation also affected my second office visit. This only went as planned to a limited extent, and there was little motivation for elaboration and planning in the months leading up to it. Nevertheless, the practice visit helped me to recognize the problems and thus ultimately to increase motivation again.
In the future, I would like to work mainly on the planning and implementation of my offers. Because here I found that often the implementation of the offers worked well. However, I did not always achieve the goal with the child, namely the expansion of knowledge. Here, on several occasions, I strengthened and consolidated already existing skills rather than imparting new knowledge to the child. In my view, it is also necessary to deepen one’s own specialist knowledge, especially in language support and development, in order to be able to recognize and implement the development and support of U3 children in a professional manner.
I would also like to deepen and intensify communication with parents. Unfortunately, this had not been possible due to the Corona time. Previous parental contact therefore amounted to brief personal conversations. During these conversations, however, I was able to learn that parents have different individual needs and resources. These must be recognized by us professionals so that we can offer families needs-based parent education and counseling services can.
The regular discussions with my supervisor and the other professionals were a very important and good experience. I found it very great when even the educators came to me and asked for my opinion on situations. In this way, I also had to think about the behavior of others for once and was also able to shape the pedagogical relationship with colleagues in a professional manner. Ultimately, the conversations motivated me to keep going, to try new approaches, and also to rethink my own perspective at times.
The next challenge I would like to take on is that of planning and implementing a theme day myself. In my view, this would be the next meaningful step in expanding my knowledge. Likewise, the age change from U3 to the older children would be a challenge, as assertiveness in particular plays an important role here and I’m not sure I’m comfortable in that age range.
Therefore, my personal goals are to maintain the current pace of learning and to differentiate between the roles of educator and father. One often catches oneself seeing the view at home from the educator role instead of that of a parent. I also need to strengthen the assertiveness.
In the end, I can say with a clear conscience that the internship at the Anna Haag House confirmed and strengthened me in my career choice. I found the internship time very valuable, especially with regard to the U3 application area. As previously mentioned, I was able to connect with the children and I was accepted as an educator.
Therefore, the further consideration now is in which institution the following internship will take place and which conception will be the most suitable for a further deepening of my knowledge. Here, a municipal facility with the entry concept or a bilingual kindergarten is in the closer selection.
- Anna Haag multigenerational house (2020): Concept of the Anna Haag daycare center. Daycare center in the Anna Haag multigenerational house. Ed. v. Anna Haag multigenerational house. Stuttgart, last checked on March 16, 2021.
- Götz, Sebastian (03/15/2021): Staffing of the Anna Haag daycare center. Interview with Dagmar Bender. Stuttgart. Conversation.
Goetz, S. (2021). Institutional analysis with reflection as an educator. Analyze and document professionally. ISSN: 2748-2979. Accessed 05.05.2021. Available at: https://krippenzeit.de/institutionsanalyse-mit-reflexion-als-erzieher/