The Joy of Kindergarten
A few years ago we moved to Germany with my hubby’s job. After being a stay at home mum for the first year, we decided to put the boys into German Kindergarten.
We did have the option to put the monkeys into a British nursery but we decided against it.
For a start the British nursery was incredibly expensive, especially when you have twins. This is definitely one of those times that buy one get one free is NOT the case!
We could deny the benefit of being exposed to a second language. We have talked to many people who teach languages and researched online. We are convinced that introducing the boys to a second language will set them up for the future.
Even though we will probably end up back in the UK for their schooling, giving them exposure to a second language now should make all languages easier to pick up in the future. Research indicates that learning a second language develops connections in the brain, which are otherwise lost over time if not used. So if you use these language skills early on it makes it easier to learn and develop this skill. Within a few months of them starting, the teachers no longer spoke to them in English – I find this amazing. They understood everything in German. If only it was that easy in adulthood!
The interesting thing we have found is that the boys quickly learnt to separate the two languages; speaking English at home and German in kindergarten. When we are out and about they have now started asking us what language to speak, they are often not sure.
The set up of the German kindergarten really appealed. We liked the emphasis on outdoor play, with plenty to keep adventurous and full-of-energy boys entertained.
In addition to all of this they are exposed to a different culture – some things are broadly similar to Britain (Christmas party had a visit from Santa Claus for example); however, some things differ. In November they celebrate the Lanternenfest (think bonfire, home-made lanterns and German songs) and they have the Carnival party in February. These new traditions have been just as much fun for my hubby and me, as it has been for the boys.
The monkeys have been to two kindergartens now. One was for younger children. One for pre-school children. We have been incredibly lucky with both, they are friendly, kind and the boys, both times, have absolutely adored their kindergarten teachers.
So what do they get up to in kindergarten? Since they started the following has been on the agenda: massages, forest walks, gymnastics, trips to the park, trips to the zoo, trips to an alpaca farm. They sing songs, play games, dance to music, do arts and crafts and, from what I understand if the boys are to be believed, have a lot of fun.
They also provide an additional language class for children who are bilingual or have speech difficulties. This means I pick them up a little later on a Monday and a Tuesday. I am lucky enough to work two minutes drive from the Kindergarten. I work flexible hours which means I am able to pick them up at 3pm every day. This still gives us a chance to do something fun afterwards, boys top choice for an after-kindergarten trip is the ice-cream parlour. Who am I to complain about such a brilliant suggestion?
The Mummy Guilt-Factor
On a Friday, they are currently off with me. I am struggling with mummy guilt about this day. I spend most of the day trying to juggle the boys and the various things I need to catch up on.
I am trying to decide if I should put them in for a few hours on a Friday morning. I know in my head that I would be able to dedicate more time to them, I would have all my stuff done, can pick them up at lunchtime. Then I could dedicate the whole afternoon to them, without pesky jobs getting in the way. 1-2-1 attention.
BUT, I feel guilty. I feel guilty about being off and sending them into kindergarten. I like the idea of having the whole day off with them but I truly dont feel like it is quality time.
I am interested to know how the German kindergarten differs from a British Nursery. Let me know in the comments.