KS: Ms Schmidt, you were at MINIHAUS München am Westpark for three years, latterly as manager, and now you are moving to the International Kids Campus (IKC) – what was your motivation for seeking out a new challenge?
Katharina Schmidt: I became the kindergarten manager quite unexpectedly when one of the team went on maternity leave. I found this challenge very exciting in itself – I was previously a group leader. At the IKC, I now have the opportunity to become familiar with yet another sphere. After all, it’s a bilingual kindergarten, which is something particularly exciting for me. It will enrich my teaching and take me and my way of thinking forward. I can’t wait to see what will happen and how I will be able to continue training - I’m looking forward to the new challenge.
KS: What new tasks await you at the IKC?
Schmidt: I am the kindergarten manager and will be collaborating with the management of the International Bilingual School Munich. In parallel, however, I will continue working as a German-speaking teacher in one of the kindergarten groups. We have three different kindergarten groups - the seniors, the middles and the juniors - and I will be joining the seniors. Initially the team will be looking to see where we can make links, what we can work on and what I can bring from the MINIHAUS which would work well at the IKC.
KS: When you look back on your time at MINIHAUS München, what were the most positive aspects of your work?
Schmidt: I am taking many positives with me. I arrived at MINIHAUS München straight from my studies in North Rhine-Westphalia and immediately took on a group manager role. I had a brilliant team who accepted and supported me. In the crèche, especially, I picked up a great many positive things. In their first three years, children take so many developmental steps which one can help guide. It is so lovely to come into the group and every day, experience things which are different to the day before. Experiencing these many steps with the children was the most positive thing for me - in my teaching work, too. I also got to learn a lot about other jobs, due to the fact that we have a variety of different professions involved at MINIHAUS München. I am an early-years teacher and worked with nursery school teachers, nursery nurse and a social pedagogue, for example. That was very enriching.
KS: How were you prepared for the manager role?
Schmidt: At MINIHAUS, I completed the manager trainee programme. For the IKC, I will join the curriculum manager in familiarizing myself with the PYP programme, focusing on early-years education at an in-house workshop. There will also be other workshops for me to attend.
KS: Do you particularly remember any experience of the past few years?
Schmidt: : It’s really hard for me to pick just one meaningful experience, as I experienced so many lovely, enriching situations during my 3 years at MINIHAUS. When former nursery children come to visit, still recognize us, hug us and with shining eyes, tell us that they and their parents have just been reminiscing by looking over their portfolio again, it’s fantastic feedback on my teaching work and lovely to be appreciated. I also love looking back at the parties involving the children, parents and colleagues, as these allowed us to enjoy a quite different kind of valuable exchange, which also helped to reinforce our educational partnership with the parents. All these experiences benefited me and I will be taking this positive feeling with me to the IKC.
Interview: Karsten Schmid