Welcome to the World's Coolest Kindergarten
HAMBURG, Germany — It was late Tuesday afternoon at the Pestalozzi Foundation kindergarten, and a few dozen children and their parents were hanging around past the normal pickup hour.
There was no rush to get home, really. They were enjoying the view from the kindergarten’s rear veranda: the inside of Millerntor-Stadion, the 29,546-seat stadium that is home to FC St. Pauli, as it hurriedly filled up for a midweek soccer game.
Staying after class has never been this fun.
Since 2010, the Pestalozzi Foundation has operated from inside the stadium, offering families perks that are most likely unique in the world of early childhood education.
The kindergarten borrows the stadium’s field, tunnels and roof for group activities. Players from the team come by to read to the children. Teachers use the arena’s main stand as a sort of giant break room. And on match days, parents clamor to reserve a spot to watch from the prime vantage point of the kindergarten’s deck, within shouting distance of the rowdy southern stands.
Kindergarten in Germany is closer in concept to preschool in the United States, existing outside the formal school system as it serves children ages 3 to 6. The German word Kindertagesstatte, which is often shortened to Kita, denotes a day care center for children of any age. Since Pestalozzi accepts children 8 months to 6 years old, people referring to it use the words kindergarten and Kita interchangeably.
The kindergarten was conceptualized eight years ago, when FC St. Pauli was renovating the stadium. There was space for a building in the southwest corner, between two large rebuilt stands. The decision to use it as a child care center made sense perhaps only in the unconventional world of the socially conscious club and its neighborhood.
文／Andrew Keh 譯／李京倫