Why does an apple go brown? Where does the wind come from? The teaching assistants in the children's daycare centres in the Gifhorn district regularly take the children on a voyage of discovery to the world of science, mathematics and technology. They receive the necessary background knowledge and support materials in the training sessions for the local network "Tiny Tots Science Corner", which take place in the BUTTING Akademie.
In an initiative of the Gifhorn district, local companies dedicate themselves to the cause, and the project is managed by the BUTTING Akademie. Hermann Butting explains his commitment: "I want to contribute to making children enthusiastic about technology at an early age, and thus indirectly getting them interested in important careers such as those of skilled workers, technicians and engineers." The support efforts of the network partners, which take the form of financial assistance or staff resources, have in years past amounted to the considerable sum of around EUR 120 000. "A sensible investment in the development of our children and our society", claims Karin Single, Head of the Department of Children, Youth and Families at the German Red Cross (DRK) in Gifhorn.
More than 380 participants from 78 daycare centres have already taken advantage of the training opportunity and thus are laying an important foundation in the children's educational biographies. In the training sessions, the teachers face up to their own understanding of science. Here they learn how to support the children in their voyage of discovery through everyday life and in the search for answers. "Young people have different abilities. The earlier they can put them into practice, the better", says Michael Znamiec, Head of the local branch of the German automotive engineering company IAV in Gifhorn.
As a fitting celebration of the fifth anniversary of the initiative in the district, along with the long-term commitment of the network partners and the daycare centres taking part, a big researchers' party was held in Gifhorn, the local administrative centre, in June. The children could carry out experiments at different stations and thus develop their enthusiasm for nature and technology through the medium of play. "It was a researchers' party for all the family at which even many of the adults were in awe", summed up network coordinator Tanya Dreyer from the BUTTING Akademie.
The Gifhorn network "Tiny Tots Science Corner" is one of 230 local network partners across Germany belonging to the charitable foundation "Haus der kleinen Forscher" in Berlin, which is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and in the last eight years has developed into the most successful educational initiative in Germany.
BUTTING - Progress by Tradition