The forest group of the kindergarten with the "guest educators" (the pensioners Andrea Weger & Waltraud Baustian), the parents' committee representatives (Esther Penner, Claudine Brimmer-Kreutz & Christian Schneider) and the three forest educators (Vanessa Gollan, Ralf Eisel & Kathrin Hachenberg).
During the first wave of the covid pandemic, the Anhausen kindergarten in Rhineland-Palatinate established its own forest group in order to reduce the number of children indoors and to prevent a possible infection with the Corona virus as best as possible. The concept of forest kindergartens is not new. It originates from the 1950s or from Scandinavia. Most of the activities in these kindergartens take place outside fixed buildings, mostly in the forest and in any weather that is "reasonable" for the children. Since 1993, the first forest kindergartens have also been established in Germany. Born out of necessity, this initial provisional arrangement at the Anhausen kindergarten soon proved its worth and became a permanent institution.
The special thing about this forest group is that is emphasizes the contact and exchange between young and old: With the support of local pensioners, they do handicrafts, cook and bake together. It is especially this intergenerational cooperation that is immensely appreciated by the children - and of course their parents as well.
A roof over one’s head and more…
For quite some time, the forest group had an old container as a solution for the prescribed, fixed location in the case of bad weather. However, due to its age and condition, this was only intended as an interim solution. The plan was to have a yurt that could be used all year round. It should provide a sheltered, warm place to stay even in cold or bad weather. Until the beginning of 2023, however, there was no funding for this, which meant that recently, in bad weather, the forest group had to be accommodated for days (or longer) in the regular, stationary kindergarten. That also meant that the activities with the pensioners could no longer take place. And: The accommodation of the (additional) forest group children in the kindergarten building was also a challenge for the kindergarten because of the space available.
L&R finances the purchase of a yurt and a wooden floor
Christian Schneider is L&R employee and actively involved in the parents' committee of the Anhausen kindergarten. He took the opportunity to submit the financing of the yurt incl. wooden floor as a CSS project. At the beginning of 2023, the project with a total value of 9,000 euros received a commitment, and in February the yurt and wooden floor were already delivered and set up.
"The forest group is a great facility: It connects the generations through the voluntary commitment of older residents. Making it possible to operate even in bad weather conditions was therefore a project close to my heart. I am very happy that L&R supports the forest group of the kindergarten and the exchange with the pensioners in such a sustainable way," says Christian Schneider.