The headstone of early childhood education is being laid at an early period. To enable children to develop a certain affinity to science it is not only necessary to pass on information on scientific phenomena but to apply models of exploration-based learning. Those models suggest the creation of an inspirational learning environment, including a range of experiments, tools and objects that are arranged in a “please touch me atmosphere”. A team of professional facilitators conduct the children through their research without being instructional. While following their own approach on scientific phenomena children explore new ways of understanding. This kind of independent research, observation and documentation may not only contribute to new insights but also to enable the children to practice and improve their research, hand on and social skills and internalize essential methods of scientific work.
The concept of Lernwerkstatt has to be understood as a holistic approach including the method of exploration-based learning as well as the room that provides the researchers with everything that might be crucial for the self-conducted research. The design of the room offers an inspirational working environment that animates students to find their own approach on different themes. Via self-experienced handling with things in an experimental way one is to create knowledge and meaning.
Including adjustable furniture, an adequate amount of space and a variety of media and experiment materials the HELLEUM enables children to apply exploration-based learning on a very innovative and high level while being accompanied by teachers, early-stage researchers and educators. Advanced training for teachers and the cooperation with parents are also part of the offer.
Through constant realization of exploration-based learning the HELLEUM contributes to implement new ways of learning in local and regional networks and thusly unlocks new fields of beneficial cooperation that is concerned with natural scientific education.
The HELLEUM cooperates with some excellent academic chairs of natural and applied sciences or didactics of early childhood and physics, most importantly the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Berlin and the Humboldt-University, Berlin.
There exist different partnerships with local and regional companies as a guaranty for a permanent knowledge exchange and dialogue about new technologies. The idea for a HELLEUM was developed within the scope of the Quartiermanagement Hellersdorfer Promenade educational initiative. The HELLEUM concept has been developed together with local pre-schools and schools.