The educational concept of the St. Leonhard daycare centre

The educational concept of our kindergarten

Mission statement of the care work

The care work is shaped by the humanistic conception of man:

  • The quest for autonomy: Every individual strives for self-determination and freedom.
  • The quest for self-realisation: Every human being has the desire to realise and exhaust his or her own opportunities.
  • Man is a whole: Every organism is an indivisible, self-contained unit. When this unit is destroyed, physical and mental problems arise.
  • Human experience and behavioural patterns are objective- and purpose-oriented: All human experiences, behaviours and activities are geared to an objective and have meaning and purpose.

1. Pedagogical approach and image of the child

Pedagogical approach and image of the child

In St. Leonhard Daycare Centre, the centre of focus is on the child* and his or her quest for self-realisation (autonomy) and being a recognised member of the community.

Every child is accepted just the way they are.

The development of a self-determined and distinctive personality is supported and encouraged.

It is our assumption that every child has the need and the opportunity to develop and unfold their skills, abilities, insights and knowledge, as well as their attitude and bearing.

So that the child can develop successfully, we provide an atmosphere in which he or she can feel at ease and secure.

1.1 Educational principles 

  • In St. Leonhard Daycare Centre, the daily care is aligned to the children’s needs and their resources. 
  • We offer the children a reliable relationship and encounters with them are characterised by sensitivity.
  • The carers act in accordance with the fundamental principles of a democratic educational style.
  • The care goals are determined by the quest for both autonomy and a successful and satisfying mutual life within the community.
  • Closeness and distance in interpersonal relationships reflect dimensions of human needs. The child is supported and encouraged in regulating his or her sense of well-being.
    • Bonds: Conscious decision for closeness and distance.
    • Self-determination: Conscious decision for security and freedom.
    • Self-esteem: Conscious decision between the need to satisfy the individual interest and the need to belong to the community.
  • Our care services are determined by the development of self-assessment, self-realisation and the practice of social behaviour.
  • With us, the children should be able to develop physically, mentally, emotionally-balanced and healthily (self-updating).
  • We cultivate a culture of constructive communication. The tasks and sanctions the children have been given are explained to them in an understandable way in the form of a dialogue, justifying the reasons. We see mistakes, conflicts and problems as human characteristics, which we use as an opportunity to learn something. 
  • All children should participate in living together (participation). Therefore, whenever possible, children should participate in the decision-making process, in accordance with their current development; participate in the knowledge shared and the activities performed, and they should share the experiences made.
  • We support the children’s sexual development by supporting and promoting their self-determination / self-responsibility development.
    • We support the children so that they can develop a positive feeling for their own body and the signals it sends. During the kindergarten age, this also includes the childlike “doctor’s game”.
    • We support the development of compassion, appreciation and self-confidence.
    • Supporting children in developing, recognising and respecting a feeling for the own shame boundary and that of the others. Acquiring sexual information and getting to know physical needs, in accordance with the current state of development.
    • Within the meaning of gender mainstreaming, the gender equality aspect, we support gender-conscious development. 

1.2 Promotion of competences

We support, encourage and challenge children in their development.„Erkläre mir, und ich vergesse.

"Explain to me, and I'll forget. 
Show me, and I’ll remember. 
Let me do it, and I understand” 

1.2.1 Self-competence - self-responsibility and self-determination

Since gaining experience regarding the own competence increases self-confidence and independence, we focus on the child's individual resources and encourage what he or she is interested in and good at in a targeted manner. 

To the greatest extent possible, the child may try everything out for him- or herself and solve age-appropriate tasks independently. Children are researchers, discoverers and actors of their own development processes at their own pace. We support the child in this and help where necessary. On the one hand, we offer the child a balanced mix between free play and, on the other, spontaneous, planned, guided, age- and development-specific activities.

1.2.2 Social competence - social attitude and approach

We support the child’s socialisation and integration within the community, promote the child’s personality development and pay attention to his or her individuality. The contact between the children of the groups is established spontaneously or via offers provided across various groups. For the child, establishing good and supportive relationships with the educators and the other children is important. This enables the child to develop sufficient trust to express their needs and behave responsibly. We support the development of an appreciative and empathetic basic attitude towards all people and the world around us.

1.2.3 Professional competence - practical competence, understanding the world, insights and knowledge

We support the child's curious, enquiring and keen to learn attitude and create an environment in which the child can experiment and establish a sensual and emotional relationship with the surrounding world. We see this as an important prerequisite for comprehending and understanding the environment and for acquiring a wide range of skills and knowledge.

Internet pages with further orientation aids:

2. Registration and admission

Registration and admission

Beginnings are formative.

To create optimal conditions for successful and needs-oriented care, the way the admission is designed is of particular importance.

Essentially, family needs and care provision must coincide.

2.1 Conditions for admission

  • Age of admission: 3 months to 14 years for daycare
  • Admission age for lunch: as of school entry

2.2 Visitation

  • Guided tour of the daycare centre
  • Explanation and information about the daycare centre’s offer

2.3 Registration 

  • Registration via the agency “Erziehungsdepartement” (Education Department), Freie Strasse 35, 4001 Basel
  • Agency:
  • Telephone: 061 267 46 14

2.4 The child registers for daycare at St. Leonhard Daycare Centre.

  • • Admission if a place is available

2.5 Procedure for admission to St. Leonhard Daycare Centre

  1. First conversation
  2. Initial contact with the child 
  3. Organisation structuring of admissions / acclimatisation

2.6 Significance and organisation of acclimatisation

During the first weeks, all participants, especially the children, should be given the opportunity gradually and gently become accustomed to the new situation. Generally speaking, this takes two weeks. In doing so, we align ourselves to the guidelines of the specialist department for daycare (ED).

A carefully-designed acclimatisation period provides the foundation for the child’s optimal development in the daycare centre. There’s a world of new things to discover and get to know. This takes some time.

The acclimatisation period depends on the child, the parents and the respective life and development situation. 

In consultation with the parents, the acclimatisation phase is designed individually for each child.

At the beginning of the acclimatisation period, the parents remain passive in the group. As soon as the children are able to cope with the new situation, the parents leave the group, step by step.

The objective of a conscious acclimatisation design is to give all participants the opportunity to actively participate in shaping the new situation and to learn how to understand one another reciprocally. We always take the needs of children and parents into account and regard these as a point of reference for ensuring that the acclimatisation process is gentle and successful.

We appreciate open, cooperative and benevolent interaction with parents, which also has a soothing effect on the child. This satisfies the need of being in a reliable care environment.

With this approach, we would like to strengthen the children's ability to bond.

3. Rhythmisation of everyday life

In the course of everyday life, we offer fixed times and rituals. This has the purpose of providing children security and orientation.

This includes

  • the consciously-designed greeting in the morning, and the farewell at the end of the daycare period.
  • the meals “Z'Morgen”, “Z'Nüni”, lunch, “Z'Vieri”
  • Times for activities and rest periods



In addition, activities are mutually planned to give the children the opportunity to discover their interests and competences and to live them out.

With the offered activities, we give the children the opportunity to develop their interests and abilities. And also developing socially-adapted behaviour. 

3.1 They are aligned to the following priorities:

  • Movement in the open air guided by nature-educational aspects: This is about treating nature with respect and experiencing and using the opportunities it offers for playing and exploring.
  • Free play as an opportunity to exercise self-control and co-responsibility, in which one's own interests and abilities can be discovered and trained.
  • Support units in the various development areas: On the basis of observations made during everyday life, activities that support and promote specific development are planned.  Here, e.g. language promotion, social skills, training of individual abilities, creativity, school requirements, exercise, dealing with one's own body, nutrition, co-responsibility, etc. are taken into account.
  • We give the child space for creative development. For this purpose, our group rooms and the playground are at the children's disposal throughout the complete day. The children can live out their creativity in every conceivable way.
  • We carry out joint activities with parents on specific thematic areas, e.g. tinkering for a variety of different occasions such as carnival, Santa Claus, Easter, etc.

4. Cooperation with parents / families

Cooperation with parents / families

4.1 Shaping successful development together

Families and the daycare centre are jointly responsible for the children’s well-being. They both have a decisive influence on the children’s development. For children, family and the daycare centre are formative worlds. The relationship between the two life worlds (fields of socialisation) to one another can take on different forms in reality. We align our everyday care work to the central wish of the parents that the care provided in the daycare centre is geared to the life situation and the needs of their child: The child’s well-being should be the focus of attention.

To be in a position to successfully organise the joint support work, we arrange regular discussions.

In addition, structured joint encounters are arranged by the daycare centre.

4.2 Family holiday planning

Please let us know as soon as possible when your child is going on holiday.

4.3 Development talks

We have a conversation with the parents once a year, to talk about the child's development status.

If necessary, further development talks will be held.

Content of the development talks

  1. Development status on the basis of the assessment and information of the responsible caregiver and parents.
  2. Exchange on further questions and concerns that are important for children’s successful development.
  3. If the parents so wish, they can ask the caregivers for advice on questions regarding upbringing.

5. Bringing – and pick-up times

Bringing – and pick-up times
The children can be dropped off in the morning 6.15 to 9.00 a.m. If needed, as of 6.15 a.m.
Dropping-off – and pick-up time in the afternoon 11.30- 2.00 p.m.
Pick-up time 3.45 – 4.00 p.m. and 4.30 to 6.30 p.m. (Or by individual arrangement)

So as not to disturb the operation of the daycare centre and the children’s group unnecessarily, no further dropping-off and picking up times are planned during the day

5.1 Talks in passing

Talks in passing provide a brief exchange of information between parents and educators. In most cases it can’t be planned and can be initiated by both parents and pedagogical staff.

This conversation in passing offers the possibility of mutual situation-oriented information and exchange on topics such as: - successes, - well-being, - health - problems/conflicts, - questions, - agreements regarding pick-up/changes, etc.

This conversation in passing strengthens and cements the educational partnership, thus making it an important component of our educational work. It takes place during the child’s is dropping-off and picking-up times, during the educator's working hours. This conversation in passing should ideally only be conducted by one educator. If, for any given reason, the conversation should last longer than approx. 5 minutes, it is possible for the educator to end the conversation at this point and make an appointment for a detailed discussion.

A memorandum will be drawn up for these more detailed discussions.

6. Health, exercise, nutrition and care

Health, exercise, nutrition and care

6.1 Das Tagesheim St. Leonard orientiert sich am Fourchette verte 


The objectives of Fourchette verte Switzerland are based on the WHO strategy "Health for All" (Health 21).

Fourchette verte promotes conscious nutritional behaviour and lifestyle optimisation. This also reduces diet-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, obesity, etc. 


6.2 Exercise and nutrition

Exercise and nutrition are important pillars of health promotion and central topics in the everyday life of day-care centres for children (day-care centres). The physical activity and perception experiences of the first years of life are not only closely linked to motor and sensory development, but also to other central development areas such as perception development, emotional development, learning and concentration abilities. 


6.3 Nutrition and food

An enjoyable, balanced, sustainable and relaxed lunch is important for body and mind. During lunch, children recharge their batteries for the challenges of everyday life and learn valuable habits that promote good health. At the same time, daily structures for children help to develop and consolidate social and personal skills.


We employ a chef. This ensures that children can develop a healthy relationship toward food and can contribute their own ideas and wishes. We offer a healthy and varied diet. The food should, to the largest extent, satisfy seasonal and regional criteria, as specified by Fourchette verte.

6.4 Catering

The following meals are served in the daycare centre:

  • Breakfast for those children who come to the daycare centre between 7.30 and 8.30 a.m.
  • Lunch
  • Zvieri

Fruits and tea are always available.

6.4.1 Individual arrangements

In consultation with the caregiver responsible for the child, individual wishes can be taken into account within a certain framework if we can afford it: e.g. allergies, vegetarians, religious requirements, etc. 

6.5 Movement

 We make sure that, whenever possible, the child stays outside 1x a day, usually approx. 2 - 2 ½ hours.

 In principle, all human behaviour includes motor, emotional and cognitive aspects, and in infancy and early childhood, movement is the most important means of gaining experience about oneself, but also about the social, spatial and material environment.

  • The interior and exterior spaces of the children's daycare centres are equipped and designed to be movement-friendly.
  • The educators ensure that age-appropriate and sufficient exercise for all children is an integral part of everyday childcare.
  • The educators know about the motor development in infancy and preschool age and about the sustainable effect of movement on the child’s overall development. 


6.6 Hygiene

Children’s nappies are changed by caretakers they trust. Nappy changing takes place in a protected, unlocked room.

6.7 Nappy changing - changing time is relationship time

Kinder werden von ihnen vertrauten Betreuungspersonen gewickelt. Wickeln findet in einem geschützten nicht abgeschlossenen Raum statt.

6.7.1 Undivided attention (in accordance with Emmi Pikler)

Relational care is also a time when the child enjoys the educator’s undivided attention in the 1:1 situation. 

Sensitive body care is a quality feature in work, strengthens the relationship with the child, and is not about getting the child “potty-trained” as quickly as possible.

Care is not a technical act, the focus is on the interaction between the educator and the child. There is no need for distractions like toys on the changing table or a mobile dangling above the table.

6.7.2 In dialogue

The relationship is demonstrated by intensive cooperation and dialogue. The child is a cooperation partner and actively participates in the care/nappy change, e.g. by stretching out the arm when putting on the sweater or when opening the nappy. The educator accompanies the whole process with words and announces every next step so that the child can adjust to it. Verbally accompanying care thus means naming every activity, every garment and every part of the body. The child is addressed directly, knows what is happening and can adapt.

Another opportunity offered by these care situations is found in the relationship care and in the dialogue with the child. The child's motivation for and pleasure found in language is strengthened by being constantly addressed whilst they are being changed.


6.8 When children become sick


  • In the event of illness or accident, the child cannot be taken to the daycare centre. If the child falls ill in the daycare centre, the parents will be informed immediately. The child needs to be picked up as soon as possible. 
  •  In an emergency, the child’s family doctor / paediatrician is contacted or the child is taken straight to the paediatric hospital or the cantonal hospital. 
  • Allergies and other sensitivities should be discussed upon admission. The daycare centre’s management must also be informed about infectious diseases in the family.

7. Living together - participation and inclusion

Living together - participation and inclusion

7.1 Participation – co-determination and co-responsibility

 In pedagogy, the concept of participation is understood as the inclusion of children in all events and decision-making processes concerning coexistence.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child has laid down participation as a fundamental right in Article 12 "Taking into account the will of the child”, specified as follows:

 “Contracting states shall ensure that a child who is capable of forming his or her own opinion has the right to express that opinion freely in all matters affecting the child and shall take due account of the opinion of the child in accordance with his or her age and maturity.”

7.2 Experience and help shape community

We would like to be a role model in dealing with children, parents and colleagues. We guide the children toward making decisions and representing their own interests, as well as making compromises, working issues out and discussing them. This allows children to gain plenty of experience.

Examples of this are:

  • The children’s self-confidence is strengthened
  • The needs are expressed in the form of words (language competence)
  • Opinions are formed / other opinions are tolerated
  • Conflicts are overcome / resolved
  • Conversational discipline listening / allowing the other to finish what he or she wants to say
  • Recognising, expressing and justifying feelings, interests, desires and criticism
  • Making joint decisions
  • Solving tasks / together or alone
  • Assuming responsibility for oneself and for others

7.3 Inclusion

The phrase inclusion has its roots in Latin. There, the verb “includere” means let in and include, the noun “inclusio” means inclusion and integration. 

In an inclusive care institution, people with and without disabilities as well as people from different cultures live together from the very beginning.

For us at St. Leonhard Daycare Centre, this means learning together and from one another in the community of children and adults, getting to know and learning to accept one another in diversity, discovering commonalities, having fun, playing, and getting to know new things.

Within the framework of our resources, it is important for us to offer

  • children from different cultural spheres
  • children with developmental delays
  • children with physical, mental and psychological disabilities
  • children with social deficits
  • children with speech abnormalities 

the same development opportunity. To achieve this, we take into account all individual differences of the children and provide a differentiated educational offer. 


The pedagogical concept and mission statement of the St. Leonhard Daycare Centre was reviewed by the daycare centre, Department of Education of the Canton of Basel-Stadt in terms of content and approved on 1 November 2018.