The children are cared for in mixed-age groups. The daily routine at Lil' Mouse House offers many activities throughout the day which cut across the different groups, whether they be during the pickup and drop-off times, when the children are cared for in the same group, or during communal mealtimes in our dining room.
The children meet for outings and walks so that they can engage in age-specific activities and so that they can progress at their own speed. Additionally, during the directed play and stimulation times, the opportunity exists to nurture and stimulate the children appropriate to their current stage of development, as well as for them to have experiences and make discoveries with children of their own age.
Freeplay offers the children important time for play and activities. Each child can freely choose its activity and his materials and decide for itself if it wants to play alone or with a playmate. The decision about where and for how long to play is also up to the child. Freeplay is an opportunity for the child to let go – he or she also has the freedom to do nothing, if desired.
The childcare staff observe freeplay, play along, encourage the children, and stimulate them, without taking away the child’s authority to govern its own play. Throughout these observations, the play interests of the child are noted and every aspect of the child's development can be discerned.
Within the framework of the play and stimulation time, we shape, on a daily basis, the development of the child's competencies, appropriate to its age. These include the development of its language, cognitive, musical and motor skills. In so doing, we take care to ensure the diversity, creativity, and seasonality of the themes we employ. We organise daily individual and group play, through which the children's social skills and self-confidence are stimulated and fostered. Movement is an important component of every play and stimulation session. Thus, their gross motor skills are stimulated and the children are able to learn to gain a sense their bodies and its limits. Directed play and stimulation always take place under the leadership of a qualified staff member.
Coming into playful contact with several languages, in our case German and English, takes advantage of early childhood learning abilities. This opportunity can be utilised by every child to the extent that it desires. There are no performance expectations; the opportunity should be used without pressure and should serve as an intercultural exchange.
A well-prepared and individually-tailored adjustment time is the basis for a trust-based, productive relationship between the child, the parents and the childcare provider. It is important that the child have a smooth and friendly transition into the new phase of its life that childcare represents.
The childcare centre makes many new and exciting impressions upon the child, such as the rooms, the many different staff members and all the new playmates. During this phase it is important to respond to the needs of the child and to establish a repoire with it.