We want the children at the Bildungshaus Alsterpalais to enjoy learning. We see our task as giving them the skills they need for their future lives. We do not focus on the contents of a curriculum, but on competences relevant to everyday life: to ask questions and to gain knowledge of the world.
Our teachers accompany the children in their learning in a mindful way. They are reliable, relatable and trustworthy learning partners who are open to the wishes, needs and interests of each individual.
Already in the childcare centre, the children practise working together with others and respectfully exchanging different opinions. We cultivate mindful communication at eye level from the very beginning so the children learn the importance of their opinion. They learn to listen competently and read meaningfully. They learn to question information critically, to deal creatively with what they have learned and to try out their own solutions.
In this way, we support every child in shaping their own educational process, for we know from educational research that the joy of learning is greatest when learning is experienced as personally meaningful; when one’s own questions are the driving force.
For us, this also means the children have a say in when, with whom and where they do what. This influences their willingness to learn and to face challenges. This does not mean they can do everything they want with us. But it is our wish that they want to do everything they do.
All children in the Bildungshaus Alsterpalais learn with and from each other in cross-age teams – both in the childcare centre and at school. Every day in these mixed teams, the younger ones learn from the older ones, and often it is also the other way round. We are happy when a child has become an expert in their own learning and passes on what they have learned to someone else in an understandable way. This experience trains a sense of responsibility and social competence.
Our pedagogues see it as their task to maintain the children’s joy of learning and to keep an eye on each individual. Strengthened by appreciative and reliable relationships with them, the children practise recognising and reflecting on their own learning progress from the daycare centre onwards. In addition, the colleagues in the school have the challenging task of finding a balance between the requirements of the Hamburg educational plan and creative freedom. They motivate the children to engage in content that they might not have been interested in on their own initiative.
Children learn in a relaxed atmosphere at the Bildungshaus Alsterpalais in a stimulating and safe environment without pressure. At school, there are structures, rules and boundaries that apply to the entire school community. However, we do not use instruments such as homework and, up to and including Year 8, also grades, tests and exams, but grades can be requested from Year 7 onwards. With the preparations for the external final examinations in year 9 and 10, the students learn how to deal with grades and examinations. Our experience shows they usually cope very well with the challenge at this stage.
It is important to us that the children get to know a variety of ways of exploring the world, both in the Bildungshaus and at external places of learning. We make this possible through a variety of excursions – not only to museums, theatres, the cinema or other extracurricular places of learning. For us, exploring the district is also part of this – and especially our regular excursions to the Gut Wulksfelde farm or the annual team trips. Such shared experiences offer new insights and experiences, strengthen the cohesion amongst the teams and thus the social environment in which they enjoy learning. After all, we want to release them into life one day in such a way that they can face its challenges with confidence.