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Schillerstrasse Children’s and Family Centre

Schillerstrasse Children’s and Family Centre was Germany’s very first Early Excellence facility, and because it also fostered early childhood education in the areas of the natural sciences and technology it became a ‘Little Scientists’ House’. It was developed in 2001 in cooperation with the British Pen Green Centre in Corby and became a pilot project prior to transferring the Early Excellence approach to all of the Pestalozzi Fröbel Haus institutions. Our day care centre offers 115 places for children between around 18 months to school starting age. In addition to this, it also has a family centre which offers a variety of activities to become involved and to shape things together.

Early Excellence as a guiding educational concept

Our educational concept centres on the educational development processes of the children and the inclusion of their parents and their families. We make consistent efforts to improve the quality of education and care in the elementary sphere. We work with the Early Excellence approach which has the following central areas of emphasis:

  • Concentration on the strengths of each and every child
  • The inclusion of the parents in their child’s educational processes
  • Opening up our facility within the neighbourhood context  

We engage in stimulating and activating educational processes in the children, and ensure that each child is individually supported through targeted observation and documentation as well as intense exchanges between team members and with the parents. This entails stronger inclusion of the whole family. We assume that the very best care and educational work in a day care centre is only possible if the parents – e.g. in regular conversations about development – are more intensely involved, because they are the most important people in the initial phase of their children’s lives and the most important child raisers. This process, in which integrative family work is becoming increasingly established, was also made possible with the help of the Heinz and Heide Dürr Foundation. This targeted support has made a major contribution towards helping us to develop model structures for the improvement of educational quality and the preventive strengthening of families.

This approach of integrating parent education work and family support into children’s day care centres has been successfully practised at the Pen Green Centre in Corby, England since 1983. Since 1997, the concept has been transferred to hundreds of British centres for children in the nationwide Early Excellence Centres programme, and the government is expanding what is known as the ‘Children's Centres’. In our case, especially during the initial phase of developing the Berlin Early Excellence model, the Pen Green Centre acted both as a model and as a very helpful cooperation partner. However, we are not aiming to copy the way in which Pen Green works. We are developing our own paths based on the existing framework conditions and the actual needs of our families.

Our work as a ‘Little Scientists’ House’

In 2009 the Schillerstrasse Children’s and Family Centre was awarded the title of ‘Little Scientists’ House’. This title of recognition is awarded to day care centres which belong to the network of the ‘Little Scientists‘ House‘ Foundation and offer children the opportunity to experiment and inquire into the natural sciences as a regularly embedded part of their daily activities. The ‘Little Scientists’ House’ Foundation was formed as an initiative of the Helmholtz Association, McKinsey & Company, the Siemens Foundation and the Dietmar Hopp Foundation. The Federal Ministry for Education and Research sponsors the nationwide dissemination of the programme.


The sections at Schillerstrasse Children’s and Family Centre

We care for the children at our centre based on the open work principle in the following mixed-age sections:

  • Fairytale land (about 25 children)

  • Adventure land (about 45 children)

  • Fruit garden (about 45 children)

  • The day care centre also has a small adjoining family centre with activities for the whole family.


Our regular activities

Kids Club

Every Wednesday from 10.15 to11.45 am. The Kids-Club is a playgroup for parents and children aged from two months onwards and is led by Anett Friedrich-Markiewicz (Family Centre coordinator) and Stefanie Manzel (educator at the Schillerstrasse Children’s and Family Centre). Play, movement, painting and everything that children can enjoy: all of these things can be tried out together at the club. Cost: 10 euros per month; a taster visit is free. Contact and registration: or Phone: 030 / 31 01 23 87. 

Family Café

Every Tuesday from 3.30 pm to 5 pm. Parents meet other parents to get to know each other, chat and exchange ideas. At the café on every last Tuesday in the month there is a swap shop: parents sell or swap clothing, toys etc. Leader: Anett Friedrich-Markiewicz. The swap shop is open to all, no registration necessary.

Family legal advice

Mondays from 4.30 until 5.30 by arrangement. This service provides free advice on maintenance, custody, separation, divorce, assets settlement, visiting arrangements, international family law. Next session at the Family Centre. Please register at:

Flea Market – everything for Kids

This takes place twice a year at Schillerstrasse Day Care and Family Centre. Time: 11 am to 3 pm (setting up starts at 10 am) – please contact us for the current dates. Contribution: 5 euros per table and a cake. Please bring tables with you. The flea market takes place outdoors and is cancelled in bad weather. Contact and registration: Jana Sommerfeld and Jutta Hillenkamp-Thöns,, Phone: 030 / 31 01 23 86 or 324 80 02.



We have presented our work with the Early Excellence approach in the brochure ‘Erfahrungen aus der Praxis: Was ist Early Excellence?’ In addition to this, two documentary videos have been made at Schillerstrasse Children’s and Family Centre:


Opening times

Our children’s and family centre is open Monday to Friday from 7 am to 5 pm.


Schillerstrasse Children’s and Family Centre
Head: Jana Sommerfeld, deputy head: Jeanette Gliese
Schillerstrasse 61/ 62
10627 Berlin

Phone: +49 / (0)30 324 8002
Fax: +49 / (0)30 3101 2387