New manager of the IKC: “It feels different”

The new manager of the IKC, Leyla Özdemir (29), is interviewed about her career at MINIHAUS, the support she has received and why things are quite different at the IKC.

Leyla, a few years ago, would you ever have imagined being manager of a bilingual nursery?

Definitely not! I was born in Turkey, where I did have quite a bit to do with foreign languages and learned English at school. But I was never so good that I would have had the confidence to be a manager in English, for example. Yet my start at the IKC really was very, very pleasant. After a few days, I got positive feedback about my English from the team, which boosted my confidence and motivated me. The children are also an unbelievable help – through them, my active vocabulary keeps on growing.

Before the IKC, you were at MINIHAUS München, of course - also part of the group. How did things start there?

In 2017, I started as a group leader at the MINIHAUS nursery in Menzinger Strasse. After just about three years, I was then appointed Assistant Deputy Manager of the nursery and relatively soon after that, Deputy Manager. A few months later, I was then offered the job of managing the biggest MINIHAUS at the Bognerhof in Trudering. People obviously thought I had the right skills, so I literally became manager of the Bognerhof nursery overnight.

How did you get on managing such a big nursery at the beginning?

I received a lot of support from the Deputy Head of Education, Ms Wick, and from the Deputy Manager of the Bognerhof nursery, Ms Smajic, for which I’m extremely grateful to this day. However, I also got a lot of support from the other nurseries and from the office, all of which helped enormously.

So you got some management experience at MINIHAUS – how does MINIHAUS differ from the IKC?

It feels different: the team is much smaller and for me, also much more tangible. Then there’s the bilingualism, of course, and the PYP concept which really is unique, a particular feature of this nursery. Another difference I notice is that I am personally active in the group. Here, I am closely involved with staff, parents and children. I can approach situations much more directly and look for solutions with parents and the team because I am in the situation myself and don’t need it explained to me first. I absolutely love working with children again and not just on a project-related basis - I can take part in “circle time” again every morning and accompany the children on their learning journey. As we have in-house administration, I have more time for the group and for the team. As a result, the plan to manage the team and be group leader is working out very well.

How is collaboration with parents at the IKC?

The parents are lovely! They see someone rolling up their sleeves and getting involved, someone who wants to get things done and I feel their appreciation at once. The support is also amazing: the parents’ committee even organized a “Teacher Day” when we all got bunches of flowers and they held a big party for us with a cocktail bar up on the roof terrace.

What are the next milestones you would like to cover at the IKC?

We are just making preparations for the coming year at the nursery, and I’d like to set some new priorities for structure and organization. We need to make sure that the new children get the best possible start and that acclimatization begins well. We also want to bring the PYP concept to life even more and to make it a focus. I’m currently undergoing some in-service training on this to give me a real understanding which will enable me to explain it clearly to the team and the children.

Interview by Karsten Schmid

Tel.: +49-89-411149-550