Early Excellence aims to create the best possible conditions for children and adults so that they can learn and develop. For this purpose, various methods and procedures have been developed and are used in our facilities

Our pedagogical concept Early Excellence – how we work

In 2000, inspired by a UK government programme and with the support of the Heinz and Heide Dürr Foundation, the Pestalozzi-Fröbel-Haus was the first institution in Germany to launch the Early Excellence initiative. At first, it was offered in the Schillerstrasse Child and Family Centre, then in its numerous other day-care centres, primary school all-day areas, family centres, in the Vocational School for Social Pedagogy and in all its other facilities.

These days, Early Excellence is an approach that is appreciated and practised nationwide, and increasing numbers of educators are coming to the PFH to learn about Early Excellence and to gather ideas and suggestions for their own work.


The core ideas of Early Excellence

Early Excellence is characterised by the combination of the best possible child development with family support services. Early Excellence is primarily about promoting the abilities of each and every child individually and communicating to the parents where their children's strengths lie. Moreover, day-care centres and other Early Excellence facilities are open to the outside world and network with cooperation partners in the neighbourhood.

Our main goals in working towards Early Excellence are the following:

  • Improving the quality of education and care in educational institutions such as day-care centres, family centres and all-day care at schools
  • Developing a partnership between educators, social pedagogues and parents as well as actively supporting and strengthening a child’s family environment.
  • Promoting a family-friendly infrastructure in the social space, e.g. by establishing educational opportunities for the entire family and opening up and networking with other institutions that are important and helpful for families.
  • Creating a culture that is characterised by resource orientation, respect and tolerance


The origin: a UK government programme

The Early Excellence Initiative was launched in the UK in 1997. At national level, the Labour government under Prime Minister Tony Blair launched the so-called Early Excellence Centres as a pilot project for 23 regions. The Early Excellence programme was then integrated into the national “Children Centres” programme in 2004. One of the first institutions to be included in the programme was the Pen Green Centre in Corby, which was founded in 1983 and guided by Margy Whalley. It became a key cooperation partner for the Pestalozzi-Fröbel-Haus.

The Pestalozzi-Fröbel-Haus and its then director Professor Sabine Hebenstreit-Müller (PFH director from 1999-2017) adapted the British Early Excellence concept to German conditions – with the involvement of many PFH staff members and with the financial support of the Heinz and Heide Dürr Foundation – and under the supervision of Dr. Annette Lepenies developed what came to be known as the Berlin model of Early Excellence. This development process was accompanied by an intensive professional exchange with Early Excellence institutions in England. This took place through study trips to Corby, London and Birmingham, as well as through specialist conferences.


Consultations on Early Excellence in the PFH

The Pestalozzi-Fröbel-Haus offers interested professionals opportunities to visit its facilities. Numerous PFH facilities invite you to enjoy consultations lasting around 90 minutes, during which the respective managers usually report on the focus of their facility and on the work carried out in line with the Early Excellence approach.

If you are interested in a consultation, we recommend that you visit our overview page for consultations on the Early Excellence approach to find out about the areas our facilities focus on.

Appointments for visits can be arranged directly with the management of the respective facilities. Please note that we charge an expense allowance for consultations, which is EUR 60 for groups of up to nine visitors and EUR 80 for groups of up to 15 people.