My little boy is turning three years old this summer. That means he will start kindergarten in the next fall. It seems unbelievable to me how time flies. I still remember the start in nursery school and now, soon a new stage in our lives will begin.
Looking for the right kindergarten is a real challenge over here. There are so many factors to consider. The location, the opening times, the rooms, the pedagogical concept and so forth. However, what is most important to me are the teachers. I must feel sure about having my son being taken care of by people who are kind and loving. People who respect children and who are humanists like me.
I have visited a total of 6 kindergardens in Graz… I am probably the only mother who did so. I even visited one of them twice because my little fellow really liked it there and I wanted to be really sure before I indicate that kindergarden as my first choice. Because here you can indicate three in order of preference. The chances you get your kid attending your first choice are not that great, so you need to really take a careful decision.
Until today I was unsure. BUT today I am happy. I got to know of a “hidden gem” and I am very impressed. For the first time since I started this quest for the right place, I actually felt like I wanted to go to kindergarten myself. For the first time, and I mean the first time ever, the director did not waiste my time talking about administrative issues but she really explained to me how important children are to her. For the first time I heard a director saying “working with children is not work, it is a vocation!”. And for the first time I had the feeling diversity is not just a word but it actually is part of the lives of the children and teachers in this kindergarten. Indifferent of their religion or colour. And for the first time, I was introduced to all the staff in this kindergarten. Shouldn’t that be standard I asked myself? How was I supposed to choose a kindergarten if I don’t even know the names of the people who will support me in raising my child? How strange, I thought to myself.
Through all this process I often wondered if I am alone on this boat. I mean, am I the only one putting human relationships in front of all things? When it is about trusting my most precious treasure to those who will be caring for him, I am not supposed to expect warmth and a loving atmosphere? Now, after having visited this kindergarten, I am happy and relieved. It seems like at last we have arrived.
In the information folder for the parents I found this beautiful poem, which immediately made me cry. Sorry for not having it in English, maybe one day I will translate it. It is about feelings being like children and how you should care for your feelings, listen to them and give them the room they need.
Ein Gefühl ist wie ein Kind…
Ein Gefühl ist wie ein Kind,
das in uns lebt und weint und lacht,
Hunger hat und bemerkt sein will.
Wer zu seinem Gefühl zu oft sagt:
„Sei still, ich habe jetzt keine Zeit für Dich“,
dessen inneres Kind sitzt eines Tages
in einer vergessenen Ecke und trauert,
wird krank und verkümmert.
Mit Gefühlen soll man umgehen,
wie man mit einem Kind umgeht:
Man sieht ihm freundlich und aufmerksam zu,
man hört, was es klagt,
man leidet mit ihm, wenn es leidet.
Denn Gefühle sind die lebendigsten Kräfte in uns,
und keine andere Kraft in uns
bringt so viel Lebendiges hervor.
Ein Kind hat auch Wünsche,
die nicht immer zu erfüllen sind:
berechtigte, gut und schöne.
Dann nehmen wir es in den Arm
und sind mit ihm traurig.
Aber wir schicken es nicht weg.
Ein Kind kann verstehen,
dass es nicht alles haben kann.
Aber lieben muss man es,
ihm Mut geben und Fröhlichkeit
und Raum, seine Kräfte zu regen.
A German author once wrote:
“Being forced to be alone is one of the most difficult things. But being able to be alone is one of the most beautiful ones.“
For me it is easy to grasp what Hans Krailsheimer meant, for I am an expert in being with myself. Just me. Myself. And I. In fact, I enjoy being alone very much and it has always been like that. As a teenager I often stayed at home, in my room, listening to music and reading or writing. Even at school, it did not represent a problem for me if my friends were not there during the break and I hanged out on my own.
As an adult I consider myself quite reserved as well. Not introverted but reserved and that is something different. I can spend hours with my own thoughts and if I have a good content to read, I can just stay at home and go with the flow. It made me wonder what it is like for children.
As a parent we tend to keep our offspring busy and to offer them all kinds of activities that promote their development: games, puzzles and toys. Our own unability to be alone and “to sit around” is immediately projected in our children and we are constantely keeping them busy. But by doing that we are imposing our own expectations about how free time should be spent. We are not really allowing them to find out what they are able to do and what they like to do… and that is not helping them in their development.
Some of us – parents – even feel guilty if we only sit in the living room reading a newspaper and not playing with our kids… so we keep stimulating their creativity by offering them fun activities at home. That is perfectly fine and it can be a lot of fun. BUT it is what happens when we are not the ones suggesting something that can be even more exciting!
I love watching my son playing on his own without any interference. He makes up his own role plays and immitates different voices. He gets immersed in his own fantasy world and he does it all based on what his creative mind has to offer. It is fascinating and sometimes (on good days) this is all we do in the afternoon. Just stay home. Do nothing. Let it flow and leave the cold outdoors 🙂
Children aged 1-3 are the audience of a series of concerts taking place at Orpheum starting in November ’12 and with dates in 2013 as well.
As far as I know, these are the only concerts for such a young audience here in Graz.
Don’t miss the chance and enjoy the music with your baby. Click here for the program.
Somehow I didn’t want to believe it – the weather forecast was right! It’s SNOWING already.
October was so beautiful and sunny, with some cool days but still felt like Autumn.
Well today it’s Winter, I’m telling you! Temperatures are between 2 to 4 degrees Celsius…
I am posting this photo for my friends and blogging fellows in Singapore. Hope you like it!
I am hoping this Winter is not going to be full of dark foggy days though. Those days depress me.
But I am looking forward to having fun in the snow with my son! That is gonna be cool.
If you have time on your hands and you are looking for lots and lots of blogs related to kindergarten, then have a look at
It’s a collection of blogs related to this topic and very handy when looking for one source with different bloggers.
Enjoy your reading!
What does it mean to be foreign? How do different people from different nationalities perceive this feeling? One interesting view has been given by another blogger in Graz and I am reblogging it here. I hope you like it too! The blog is called Mokdong Magpie – sounds intriguing, right?
Tomorrow begins my first day as a high school teacher here in Graz. The school systems in Austria are organized differently than in the U.S., so I will teach ages 11-19 at the “Gymnasium”. The students attending Gymnasium are on a college bound track; after a few years of general study they will begin to choose specializations. I am teaching at two different schools, one that emphasizes sports and one emphasizing music. I’m excited to work with older students, as most of my students in prior years were elementary or middle school-ers, and I hope that I can inspire them to care about my lessons. The TA’s I trained with last week went to one of my schools, and brought back reports of both lovely and terrible classes. This is normal. I had some classes in Korea that I looked forward to everyday, and some where I felt like a…
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What a lovely idea. The Kinderatelier Vasata in Graz started a project especially meant for children and teenagers. The atelier is a place where kids can give their creativity room and space without being subject to pressure or competitive thinking. However, Vasata is a European project and it’s not just located in Graz/Austria but also in other places in Switzerland, Greece and Germany.
Through the arts work, the little artists build on their self-esteem. It is not important to be the best! It is important to feel welcome and accepted and to have a place where they can concentrate on the creative process alone.
This process of concentrating on their artworks alone without any negative feelings from the outside can also support the young artists in dealing with any issues that might be stressing them.
In our ever changing and incredibly fast world where children often need to “function” without being left with room for their own interests and moods, I believe this kind of offer is very meaningful. I will surely check it out!
For all details you can visit the website: www.kinderatelier-vasata.eu or find them on Facebook!