News

10. November 2021

In conversation with Manuela Peters

She has been the manager of the “Melli-Beese-Haus” nursing school for six years

Manuela Peters, manager of the “Melli-Beese-Haus” nursing school © WISTA Management GmbH

“Diverse, sustainable, and rewarding” is what Manuela Peters thinks about her work with our youngest. She has been a childcare worker since 1984 and the head of “Melli-Beese-Haus” for six years. Located right next to the landscaped park in Johannisthal/Adlershof, the provider of the nursery is FiPP e.V., a recognised youth welfare organisation. Manuela Peters particularly appreciates the diversity education approach here: “Since its opening in 2007, ’Melli-Beese-Haus’ stands for self-confident and independent development of its children. Melli Beese encountered many prejudices on her path and never gave up on her dream of flying. Surely, she also succeeded because she was encouraged and supported. This is exactly what we feel is important in early childhood education.” Peters, a Berlin Pankow native, has now found the centre for her own life in Brandenburg. She enjoys her garden and is out in the nature in front of her doorstep for sports and leisure.

Adlershof Journal: How many children and at what age do you look after?

Manuela Peters: We look after 95 children aged up to six years at our nursery school, which is divided into two daycare units and one elementary unit. They are mixed in age and children can move around freely.

Does your nursery have key subjects that you teach the children?

Experiencing nature and sustainability are topics that play an important role. Our nursery garden, where the children learn to sow, cultivate, and, lastly, harvest plants, and the landscaped park at our doorstep offer diverse opportunities for exploration, trying things out, and independent learning.

What are the most important values underpinning your work?

Diversity education that reflects on biases is something that is close to our hearts. Every child is welcome here, regardless of their ethnicity, religion, or family background. We do not permit exclusion and try to make the children aware of it by talking to them about what words can do to others.

What has your impression been of children and their families during the pandemic?

When the nursery closed last year, we sensed a certain speechlessness and numbness on all sides. We had to implement the new regulation and work with few children in emergency care and the families at home in a situation none of us had ever experienced before. We have received a great deal of gratitude from the families. Every little step was helpful in maintaining contact with the children, whose familiar environment had broken away, and so we sent them podcasts and small audio and video messages.

To what extent are the families involved in your work?

Without the parents’ involvement, our work with the children wouldn’t be possible. We have a well-functioning parent representative committee. When we go on trips like our traditional Forest Week and other highlights, the parents are always by our side.

What does family mean to you personally?

Family is the smallest form of community in our society. The basic trust that children experience in their families is an important foundation of their attachment behaviour later on. Personally, I hope every child can grow up in a safe environment within its family.

Is there something you currently worry about?

Unfortunately, we cannot meet the high demand for nursery places. We receive countless emails and calls from parents every day. The waiting list is long and there are only slim chances of getting a place. We are not very happy with this.

And what is something you are currently enjoying?

We are breathing more easily now after the long lockdown and all the restrictions for children and parents that came with it have been lifted. Our children can move around the house, which they enjoy very much. It is also key for our educational approach.

Interview by Peggy Mory for Adlershof Journal

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