Wp2:Curriculum Analysis: Germany
 National curriculum in Germany
Martina Endepohls-Ulpe; Judith Ebach; Janine von Zabern
Partner 8 – University of Koblenz-Landau
Curriculum-Analysis for the pre-school-sector in Germany: technology education in the Kindergarten:
The article explains the characteristics of the pre-school sector and the common framework of the federal states for early education in nurseries and Kindergartens. Further a short summary contains exemplary contents of educational frames for preschool education of a few federal states in Germany: Baden Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Rhineland-Palatinate (RLP). The emphasis is on the aspects of technical natural-scientific education.
Further more you find the Curriculum-Analysis for the technology education in the primary-school-sector (class-level 1-2) in Germany: The analysis is exemplified by the written curricula from the subject “Sachkunde” from a sample of federal states in Germany: Rhineland-Palatinate, North Rhine- Westphalia, Bavaria, Berlin, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Brandenburg (see the document: ECE Curriculum in Germany).
Curriculum-Analysis - PDF-Document: Preschool Education in Kindergartens - Examples from Germany
Description of the educational system Education in Germany
Curriculum-Analysis for the primary school sector in Germany (class level 1-2 = 6-9 years old) ECE Curriculum in Germany
ECE Curriculum-Analysis: Preschool Education in Kindergartens - Examples from Germany -This information was not available in the writing process of the international meta-analysis, but as added here afterwards the reader can find here worthwhile, completing information about technology education in ECE of the federal states of Germany.
 Characteristics of the preschool sector
Preschool education starts at the age of three and is voluntary for younger children at the age of 0 – 3 years. In Germany there is the possibility for full-time care (“Ganztagsbetreuung”) in the nursery (“Kindertagesstätte”). The other possibility is that children spend only part of the day at kindergarten. Kindergartens provide childcare and try to foster child development and educate the children. In some of the federal states there is a curriculum or “Lehrplan“ for the kindergarten. An overview on the existing curricula, as well as information about the implemented education can be obtained from the “education server” (Bildungsserver) Germany at: http://www.bildungsserver.de/.
 Common framework of the federal states for early education in nurseries
The frame results out of the findings of a conference of youth ministers on 13/14 May 2004 in Gütersloh. The Document (last update 31.08.2008): http://www.mbjs.brandenburg.de/media/lbm1.a.1222.de/rahmen_052004.pdf.
The common frame is an agreement between the federal states on the basics of educational procedures/ tasks of the nurseries and kindergartens. These will be more clearly defined, fulfilled and extended by the education frames of the federalstates. Within the common frame, all states choose their own ways of differentiation and implementation, as appropriate to their situation. The education frames are an orientation and provide the basis for nurseries to establish concepts that take the local conditions into account and are specific to their responsible bodies and facilities. They do not contain an extensively regulated order of the educational work, but leave much pedagogical latitude and emphasise to take individual differences into account and to choose playful, exploring ways of learning. (cf. p. 2).The fields of education for elementary education are listed in the common framework (cf. p. 4). Regarding natural scientific-technical education, the following fields are mentioned: Mathematics, Natural sciences, (Information) technology
Children at this age have great interest in natural-scientific phenomena of the animate und inanimate nature, and in experimenting and observing. Therefore, the childlike curiosity and the natural wish to explore should be used to help them being able to deal with numbers, amounts and geometrical forms, and to obtain mathematical basics and skills.
The imparting of knowledge about usage and functions of technical and information technological appliances, that influence the children’s everyday life, is closely connecetd to this. They should also learn how to deal in a practical way with these appliances (cf. p. 4).
Nature and cultural environments: Developmental-appropriate education about the environment borders many areas of life, starting with the encounter with nature, to health, and value systems, up to leisure activities and consumer behaviour. Central aspects are the mobilisation for a healthy environment – primarily in the world of the children – the repair of already caused damage and the interaction between ecology, economy and social issues in the sense of education for sustainable development. The children should get the opportunity to have encounters with nature and the different cultural envirnoments, and they should get various possibilities of dealing with them (cf. p. 5).
 Curriculum examples
The following short summary contains exemplary contents of educational frames for preschool education of a few federal states in Germany. The emphasis is on the aspects of technical natural-scientific education.
 Baden Württemberg – Orientation frame for education
The orientation frame is being tested in kindergartens since autumn 2005, and will be obligatory for all nurseries in Baden Württemberg from 2009 on. The following document represents the version of the pilot phase: http://www.km-bw.de/servlet/PB/- s/bo3r7b16u7g5z16flxy1kbh7f6c5mtwx/show/1182991/OrientierungsplanBawue_NoPrintversion.pdf (last update 31.08.2008).
Technology education is being taken into account through the educationaldevelopmental fields of “thinking“, as well as partly “senses“.
Thinking (cf. p. 99ff):
- The orientation frame give helpfull suggestions for tasks of sorting and arranging things, and counting numbers.
- Holistic experiences should be made possible – mathematical, natural scientific and technical connections should be viewed as a whole and be transformed into childlike ways of expression and these should be dealt with, so that the children
can actually experience (it) with their senses.
- The orientation frame contains pieces of advice for a continuation of the topics in primary school (cf. p. 107).
- The methodological advice is to to apply actively-exploring learning methods and to provide the opportunity of everyday experience.
Sense (cf. p. 81 ff.):
- Development of the senses as an important condition for further education within the combined field of “man, nature, culture“.
- Recommendation: explorative dealing with all senses in the areas of “cultural phenomena and environment“ / “natural phenomena and technology“ (cf. p. 89).
 Bavaria – Plan for education
After one year of testing in 104 nurseries and kindergartens, this document is the end version (November 2005) of the plan. It had been developed by order of the Bavarian state’s Ministry of employment, social order, family and women at the state institute of early pedagogy (= Staatsinstitut für Frühpädagogik (IFP)).
The Documents (last update 31.08.2008): (Information on ordering) http://www.stmas.bayern.de/kinderbetreuung/bep/index.htm (Information for parents) http://www.stmas.bayern.de/kinderbetreuung/download/bep-eltinf.pdf. In the process of early childhood education, great importance is setteld to the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and technology. (cf. p. 21): Technology education is taken into account in the following educational fields (cf. Information for parents, p. 18):
- Enhancement of the mathematical education
o Sensory experiencing of geometrical forms through toys o Comparing, classifying and arranging things o Weighing, measuring and dealing with money
- Enhancement of the natural scientific and technical education
o Perception with all senses o Collecting, sorting out and arranging nature substances o Observation of natural scientific phenomena o Setting up own experiments o Training in dealing with simple tools o First experience with the world of technology, work and traffic o In the field of chemistry and physics: encounter with the composition of substances (e.g. solid objects, fluids, gases)
- Media education
o Usage and functioning of IT and communication technology / learning how to deal with media There are given short suggestions of topics for these fields. There are some methodological advice: advancement of holistic thinking (p. 20), inquiring-explorative learning (p.21), as well as playful learning (p. 13).
 Berlin – Educational programme
Presented by the non-profit society for innovative pedagogy, psychology and economy of the FU (Free Univerity) of Berlin, by order of the Senate administration of education, youth and sport in Berlin. The programme describes soundly and differentaited what aspects mark children’s educational processes, what demands the society has on preschool education at present, and what educational tasks result out of both for the nurseries and kindergartens. The programme clearly defines these statements in seven central educational fields, and mentions the competences for each field, which the child should have acquired during its time in the nursery.
The Document (last update 31.08.2008): http://www.berlin.de/imperia/md/content/senbildung/ bildungswege/vorschulische_bildung/berliner_bildungsprogramm_2004.pdf.
Mathematical and natural scientific basic experience and communication belong, among others, to these educational fields. (cf. p. 89ff.):
- Experience of dealing with objects and articles of everyday use, and their characteristics. Especially the form, height and weight, should be classifed and known by children.
- Experience of numbers of all dimensions – the children should acquire ideas about numbers, achieve to count and get to know the nature of the mathematical basic operations, i.e. addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
- Experience of measuring and comparing – concerning length, width, height, weight, distance, spatial and temporal measurements, as well as in dealing with sets.
- Experience of dealing with time – passing and duration, present and future.
- Geometrical experience, as well as experience with the laws of perspective, dealing with areas and objects (circle, triangle, rectangle, etc.).
- Experience of graphic depiction – in dealing with network maps, outline maps, diagrams or tables.
The field of natural scientific basic experience touches the disciplines of biology, physics, chemistry and technology (cf. p. 99ff.). This comprises among other things
- Phenomena of the animated and inanimated nature.
- Physical characteristics (states – e.g. frozen puddles, melting snow ...) / physical phenomena (gravity ...).
- Chemical reactions (changes of consistency – e.g. baking clay, or cakes, etc.).
- Dealing with technological appliances (blender, washing machine, radio, etc.) and technical toys.
In both educational fields it is explicit mentioned that girls are to be supported in the same way as boys and that they are to be shown that they are capable of doing this. Both sexes should be encouraged in the same way to deal with these topics. Media experience is being dealt with in the field of communication: languages, script culture and media. This field is about experience with various types of media (books, CDs, radio, films, computer, etc.) and the development of media competence (cf. p. 61ff.).
The educational plan comprises many tips for games and project work, toy material and room organisation for all educational fields so as to implement natural scientific and technological basic experience in the everyday life of a kindergarten.
 North Rhine-Westphalia – Educational agreement
To improve the quality of education in daycare institutions for children in NRW, the state government has - together with the umbrella associations of public and free welfare work as well as with the churches - negotiated an agreement on educational goals, fields, and an open educational plan, which is to become the basis for educational processes in North Rhine-Westphalian daycare institutions. This agreement is to unify and intensify education in all daycare institutions in NRW beginning with the kindergarten year of 2003/04. Wording of the agreement text, which came into force on 1 January 2003. There are also handouts for the development of educational concepts that take their responsible bodies and facilities into account in the fields of movement; playing and designing; media; language(s), as well as nature and cultural environment(s).
The Document (last update 31.08.2008): http://www.callnrw.de/php/lettershop/download/865/download.pdf.
Educational field: Playing and designing, media: Media, including electronic media, are to be involved situationally according to everyday experiences of the children. However, there are no formulated suggestions (cf. p. 14). Educational field: Nature and cultural environment(s):
- Experience nature with all senses
- To stimulate the examination of biological, physical and other scientific topics.
- Investigate nature and environment through inquiring-explorative learning & experimenting, and explorations of the environment (cf. p. 20ff.).
 Rhineland-Palatinate – Recommendations on education
The recommendations on education are to make educational processes in the nurseries in Rhineland-Palatinate more transparent and binding. Since many responsible bodies are autonomous, the document serves as a basis for institutional-specific implementations of the concept. After a discussion period of several months, this document is the revised version of the draft from 2003: http://kita.bildungrp. de/fileadmin/downloads/bildungs-und-erziehungsempfehlungen.pdf (last update 31.08.2008). Technological education in these recommendations is dealt with in three educational fields: Mathematics – Natural science – Technology (cf. p. 31ff.)
Observing and drawing conclusions:
- E.g. to perceive and precisely describe observations / asking “why-questions“ / keeping records of observations (drawing, telling, painting, etc.).
Experimenting and describing:
- E.g. experiemtns from the field of biology, chemistry, inanimated nature, physics and technology / making assumptions about observed phenomena / keeping records of “research“ results and present them
Counting, measuring and comparing:
- E.g. to conduct measuring and weighing “processes“ (e.g. weight, temperature, time) / comparing, classifying, sorting things, learning to count Experiencing and understanding geometrical objects and relations:
- E.g. getting to know geometrical figures (quadrangle, sphere, pyramid, etc.) / being able to distinguish characteristics of objects more and more.
Building and constructing:
- E.g. constructing phantasy objects / “building caves, houses, towers, bridges, etc. / getting to know tools and using them. Nature experience – ecology (cf. p. 33ff.)
- Learning how to deal carefully with the resources of nature / learning about a healthy diet / conscientious dealing with raw materials through waste preventation and separation of waste / learning about natural life cycles / having experience with/in the nature. Media (cf. p. 35ff.)
- E.g. learning about the variety of different media / learning about functioning and use of media / practise dealing with media / realising dangers of misusage and manipulation with and from media products / learning how to have an ownopinion
(preparing the children for a critical attitude towards media consumption).
General methodological tips / recommendations:
- E.g. games as a way of learning / independent learning and participation/ situation-oriented learning / project work / learning via observation. Finding: Heading that describes your finding ==
Description of the finding. The finding can be a key issue identified in the curricula related to the teaching of this particular subject area; e.g. a problem, a good solution, etc.
 Conclusions and recommendations
Conclusion: Curriculum-Analysis for the pre-school-sector
Since 2004 there is a common framework of the federal states of Germany for early education in day care. Up to that date early education in kindergarten in Germany had mostly the character of care, at the best of fostering development without any binding contents of learning. The framework recommends, among other things, a holistic approach, playful and explorative learning and consideration of individual differences.
It’s a very positive point, that technology as an area of education is explicitly mentioned. Regarding natural scientific-technical education, following fields are mentioned:
- Mathematics, Natural sciences, (Information-)technology
- Nature and cultural environments
The short summary shows exemplary contents of educational frames for pre-school education of the federal states: Baden Württemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Rhineland-Palatinate (RLP). A positive aspect is that beside the themes mathematical education and natural scientific the media education is part of the pre-school-education. If these topics are elements of the daily educational offerings in the kindergarten, the educational opportunity of the early childhood is used very well.
Conclusion: Curriculum-Analysis for the primary-school-sector (class level 1-2)
Since a special characteristic of the German educational system is educational federalism (which means that the school system is under control of the federal states), each state has formulated its own curriculum for early childhood education. The curricula of the states differ essentially in specification and mention different areas of learning. Finally, a positive aspect of our findings is that, even though technology is not a self- standing subject in German primary schools, it nevertheless appears as a subject area in the subject “Sachkunde“.
All written curricula we analysed included guidelines concerning themes and methodological suggestions for technology education, and there were several technical fields that were mentioned in every curriculum.
Furthermore, all curricula give methodological suggestions and emphasise multiple- perspective learning and practical activity learning. Of course, one of the main difficulties we found is, as already mentioned, the ambiguity and inconsistency caused by the German educational federalism. Furthermore, the written guidelines we analysed are on the one hand obligatory for the teachers, but on the other hand they are not very clear and precise. Equipment and rooms at schools are often not sufficient to provide children with an activity-oriented instruction.
Bildungsserver: http://www.bildungsserver.de/ (last update 31.08.2008)
Gemeinsamer Rahmen der Länder für die frühe Bildung in Kindertageseinrichtungen: http://www.mbjs.brandenburg.de/media/lbm1.a.1222.de/rahmen_052004.pdf (last update 31.08.2008)
Baden Württemberg – Orientierungsplan für Bildung und Erziehung: http://www.km-bw.de/servlet/PB/-s/bo3r7b16u7g5z16flxy1kbh7f6c5mtwx/show/1182991/OrientierungsplanBawue_NoPrintversion.pdf (last update 31.08.2008)
Bayern – Bildungs- und Erziehungsplan: (Hinweise zur Bestellung) http://www.stmas.bayern.de/kinderbetreuung/bep/index.htm (Elterninformation) http://www.stmas.bayern.de/kinderbetreuung/download/bep-eltinf.pdf (last update 31.08.2008).
Berlin – Bildungsprogramm: http://www.berlin.de/imperia/md/content/sen-bildung/bildungswege/vorschulische_bildung/berliner_bildungsprogramm_2004.pdf (last update 31.08.2008).
Nordrhein Westfalen – Bildungsvereinbarung: http://www.callnrw.de/php/lettershop/download/865/download.pdf (last update 31.08.2008).
Rheinland-Pfalz – Bildungs- und Erziehungsempfehlungen: http://kita.bildung-rp.de/fileadmin/downloads/bildungs-und-erziehungsempfehlungen.pdf (last update 31.08.2008).
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