Teckids is an organization that offers projects and other free-time activities to children and young adults. We should not only consider ourselves as a 'provider of knowledge' in the narrow sense of 'education', but rather aim at supporting the development of our participants in an integral way.
Whenever we offer such activities, it is just natural for us to consider children as young people who are living in a community with other children and tutors during the respective project.
We want to briefly introduce the principles constituting our Educational Concept in the following. Some of them may only be relevant for projects lasting several days or being offered repeatedly. Their essential features, however, leave their marks on our pedagogical work in all our activities.
Children and young adults are meant to experience life in a community with us. This applies to spending their time with people of the same age and with tutors, especially in the case of projects lasting several days. In principle, our free-time activities are set to be similar to life in a large family, which is based on respect and trust. Our tutors should aim at 'living on one level' with the children while maintaining their status of reliable adressees for any kind of the participants' problems. Anybody is supposed to feel that they are taken seriously on any of these 'levels'and that they get their necessary amount of attention whenever needed.
All items on a project's programme will be carried out by this group in a community. This may not only include workshops or other educational elements, but also the preparation of meals or finding ways of spending an evening together, for example. Appropriate times for rest and sleep and their observation or encouraging our participants to maintain dental or body care are also considered parts of communal life.
Our cooperation with any child or young adult is supposed to be based on mutual trust and agreements. The symbolic 'creation' of such agreements (by means of a handshake, for example) supports the social cohesion of the community and represents a foundation that the community can rely on. Agreements made together with others are much more tangible, especially for children, than a pre-defined, abstract set of regulations. By agreeing on a rule in community, a feeling of an own responsibility for the observation of such rules is created.
All of our projects aim at motivating our young participants to take responsibilties and to be independent. For children regularly participating in Teckids' projects, this especially applies to independently participating in the organization's affairs and communication. They shall not be excluded from any general aspect of the organization's work. Even those who take part in our projects as guests or irregularly are welcome to make their own decisions after being explained the consequences. Examples for such decisions include signing up for activities, deciding whether or not results or comments can be published and, if agreed to by the parents, deciding on the privacy of participant data.
It is a goal of all of our projects that the participants, children and young adults, reflect on their progress, results, capabilities and learning opportunities at all times and that they independently refer to their tutors and mentors with any question or problem.
This also means that we assist the participants with the independent achievement of their goals without severely intruding on their individual work pace. Our projects are result-oriented, which means that we aim at reaching a certain goal, but not at taking a certain approach.
Persistent communication of feed-back between tutors and participants, in both directions, represents a core aspect of our learning projects. We especially put a focus on motivation through praise or credit for individual achievements and progress, however, we also promote the ability to take criticism, in both directions.
Any child or young adult should be able to take part in our projects. We shall be unsparing in our efforts to remove any hindrance for individuals with special requirements, may they be pedagogical, psychological or medicinal. Both children and parents can trustfully adress us at any time, before or during projects, to talk about circumstances that may be problematic. When we are working together, this will lead to a successful participation in the project.
The organizational principle of our projects is to cater for the requirements of all children and young adults in a way that makes them feel comfortable in the community. This includes break times in which the participants are enabled to take physical exercise, but also individual offers for relaxation (such as the use of exercise equipment by children diagnosed with ADHD outside regular break times) and games promoting trust, confidence and community.
Informing us about special pedagocial or psychological requirements can be helpful or even necessary. It is, however, important to us that we shall not directly adapt the way in which we take care of a participant to our prior knowledge. We rather focus on getting to know all children and young adults equally and thus being able to assess them. This is possible even in short-term projects as the creation of a community quickly leads to a trustful atmosphere.
Regular participants of our projects often go through a process of continuous development in the fields mentioned above, such as their sense of responsibility, independence and practical knowledge. We aim at keeping an eye on these developments and convert our observations into individual recommendations. These should not only inspire the participants to independently make progress at home, but also motivate them to actively participate in our projects.
Just as we want to actively communicate feedback in both directions with our young participants, we want to work closely with parents. This does not only apply to targeted and early information about special requirements, but the communication shall also include feed-back from our point of view about the process (and progress) of learning, social competences andobservations from the life in community.
As we want to be on one level with our participants, our workshops are supposed to take place in a strong community. This is based on the tutors being children or young adults themselves, who are experts in a their field but shall aim at working towards a certain result in community with their peers of the same age. While doing this, both tutors and participants will be supported by our adult members.
It is important that we not only occasionally support our participants' learning processy in our projects. This is why we make certain tools accessible to all children and young adults, using which they are able to work at home depending on their interests. For example, this includes the possibility to connect to the system used in our workshop from any home computer so that the participants can access their results and our software at any time.
In order to reach a certiain goal in a learning process, we agree on a desired result with our tutors and participants,the achievement of which is then approached independently with the necessary instructions and support provided by the tutors.
We put a strong focus on results that can be presented and that are looked back at by the participants with personal pride. This pride and satisfaction are our core criteria of good participants' and tutors' results.
The educational concept presented results from the experience made in many projects and our notions of a good co-operation with children and young adults.
The team in charge of educational questions (Niklas Bildhauer, Dominik George, Jutta Paul-Fey, Klaus Suthe, Johannes Tobisch, Martin Winter) are responsible for making this concept the foundation of the work of all tutors and mentors.
© 2014 Dominik George and Niklas Bildhauer. Licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0 DE (or a newer version). We are looking forward to this work being used to actively inspire the educational work of other organizations ☺!
The team in charge of educational questions is always open to questions, proposals and any kind of input via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.