Arrive, Settle In, Feel at Home

During the start last September, everything was new territory for the Waldkinder Herrieden. So, the first weeks primarily focused on coming together as a group, exploring the nearby and distant terrain, and getting to know the neighborhood (such as the nearby college).

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed this initial period of arrival and making friends. The clearing in the forest is gradually becoming the first meeting place, and thanks to the city’s commitment, the Waldkinder have had access to a small construction trailer since the beginning of the year as a temporary space.

For the children, the diverse forest provides daily inspiration, whether it’s testing their courage while climbing or sledding and improving their motor skills. Even the youngest three-year-olds participate in walks and explorations with great endurance. And if a child gets tired, they are welcome to take a rest in the wagon and even have a little nap. Through these daily excursions, a positive side effect is emerging for all of Herrieden: the children take care of the environment by picking up litter along the way – being environmentally conscious, they always have a trash bag with them.

In exploring the surroundings, new routines and rituals are also developing. The team collaboratively shapes the daily life with the children: Seasons naturally influence the program, and music plays a significant role in this group. But there are also established activities, such as the monthly visit to the library. A close bond has already been formed with the elementary school. Cooperation teacher Britta Kaiser and facility manager Aline Rapp anticipate close exchanges: whether it’s readings, monthly singing, or cooking together over an open fire – mutual invitations between school and kindergarten have already been extended. For the five current preschool-age children, the “smart foxes,” this provides excellent preparation for the big transition in autumn. The children themselves came up with the fitting name for their group, and they developed a shared ritual for being appointed as a “Schlaufuchs” (clever fox) – after all, participation is highly valued in their everyday life. Currently, the “Schlauen Füchse” (smart foxes) are obtaining their carving licenses. Their first goal is to carve their own wooden spoon.

After the first few months, it can be concluded that the Waldkinder have definitely arrived and feel at home. It remains exciting to see what else will unfold. Because with new children come new ideas (and not just new children).