The name remains unchanged from the original idea of the founders – to get their children together in a day care center in the street where they lived.
The desire was to live like in an extended family. Relatives, friends, neighbours should meet in the affiliated terrace café.
However, in reality it turned out differently. The planned villa in the „own street“ turned into rooms in a different neighborhood and the terrace café unfortunately turned out to not work in everyday life. Yet, the ideal of “living like an extended family” remained. Social security, fair communication and the child’s personality were in focus from the very beginning. Each child should be enabled to unfold according to his or her dispositions and interests. The term “street” became synonym for nature, environment and life in the city.
The idea has been around since 1991. Parents wanted to create an alternative to the current day care situation, which they felt unhappy with.
In 1992, the association was officially registered and the first educator, Sabine, was hired. As a trained school teacher, she was convinced by the concept and so she helped the project come to life. 25 years later she’s still caring for the street kindergarten children with her heart and soul.
In 1993 the kindergarten opened in Tarostraße 7. 16 children and 4 adults, including two educators, started Kindergarten life. Finally the vision had become reality. To open a Kindergarten with such a different concept seemed a bit daunting at first, and needed lots of improvisation, as everyone learned on the go.
The every day life in Straßenkindergarten differed a lot from other institutions at that time: the educators did not wear goans but worked in civilian clothes, communication with children was at eye level. The families helped to manage the daily routine, a new territory for everyone. They helped to clean, participated in the kindergarten routine and lend their helping hands.
The parents also held the reins from the beginning as the executive board of the association. Members of this board are elected by the parents in the general member assembly of the association.
In 1995 and a few years after, there has been a cooperation with a group of senior citizens – they met to play games and do crafts together.
Many field trips were made over the years: wether to the Agrapark, Leipzig Zoo or Mölkau farm, to the fire brigade, to Haus Steinstraße e.V. or to the Auensee, to name just a few – never a boring day. Various theme parties were celebrated. Think of knights’ parties, potato parties, a Neptune party and so on. For the opening of the self-built pirate ship in the garden, there was of course a pirate party.
Over the years, talented parents and educators co-created great new play equipment. Today’s swing garden, tree house and play car are all self-designed and built, and our garden was awarded second place in the Saxon Children’s Garden Competition in 2003. The parents’ work, which is common in Straßenkindergarten, has made many projects possible that would otherwise would not have been. E.g. an extensive bathroom renovation was the result of parents’ work.
During the last 25 years, the Kindergarten has grown from 16 to 52 children. At the beginning, the Kindergarten was desperately looking for children because the low birth rate. Only after 5 years the kindergarten was able to open a second group and hire two new educators, Annett and Kerstin, who are, just like Sabine, still part of the Straßenkindergarten.
The Straßenkindergarten is frequently involved in social activities. As early as 1996, the Kindergarten demonstrated with a stand at the youth welfare day with the slogan “Hands off the youth budget”. And also in 2017, with support of parents and educators, the kindergarten took part in the demonstration of the Leipzig Kindergarten initiative “Because children need time”. The staff’s social projects were also supported. Annett privately participated in educational exchange programmes with Israel and Mongolia. Partners also visited Annett and the children in the Straßenkindergarten, showed them parts of their culture and celebrated festivals together.
In 2004, a third group was opened, the „Störche“ (storks).
From 2005 to 2014, the Straßenkindergarten became a member (and was administered) of the “Freie Kindergarten e.V.”. The cooperation ended in 2015, making the street kindergarten independent again. A great period of change began. In 2016, Anke was hired as director, being the link between the executive board and the staff.
In order to be able to respond better to integration children, the „Störche“ group became an integration group and Annett got trained in curative education. The group size of the Störche was reduced to 17 children. The Füchse group therefore grew and divided into Füchse and Waschbären, now two 2 groups of 12 children each, since then been looked after by Sabine and Lars. Since then until now there are four groups in Straßenkindergarten.
But this will not remain so for too long. As the current building will have to be extensively renovated, the Kindergarten would therefore have to be relocated in the meantime. In the course of talks to the City of Leipzig administration, the idea arose, to not just find an interim solution, but to find a new building.
After an intensive search, a new home for the Straßenkindergarten was found. In 2023, the Kindergarten will move to Lindenau into the building complex “Lindenauer Forum”, which is currently being built by the company Löwensteininvest. The Straßenkindergarten will also grow, catering to the high demand of daycare places in Leipzig, to two nursery groups and five Kindergarten groups with a total of 81 children.
So there are still exciting times ahead.