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New Campus Daycare Center Makes Chemnitz University Even More Family-Friendly

University President Prof. Strohmeier, State Minister Dr. Stange and Chemnitz Mayor Ludwig officially open the new on-campus “Campulino” daycare center

After eleven months of construction, the “Campulino” Daycare Center, located directly on the Chemnitz University campus and operated by Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau, was officially opened on July 12, 2018. Construction began on August 11, 2017 and cost approximately 2.7 million euros. The “Campulino” daycare center’s goal is to encourage children’s team spirit and investigative nature. Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier emphasizes the daycare center’s importance for Chemnitz University and for Chemnitz as a city: “The compatibility of family and career is one of our key priorities at Chemnitz University. At this point, almost ten percent of our students have children and demand for daycare services has increased substantially in the last two years. I am very pleased to announce that the “Campulino” daycare center will make these services available to even more families and we will better be able to meet the standards we have set for ourselves as a family-friendly university.” Following his speech, the University President presented the center with 100 bibs for the children to use.

In her address, Saxony’s Minister of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, Dr. Eva-Maria Stange underlined the significance of the on-campus daycare center: “This daycare center run by Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau is a good example of how student unions in Saxony can establish a social infrastructure framework that enables students to focus on their studies and successfully complete their degrees. Chemnitz University of Technology can continue to endeavor to meet their standards as a family-friendly university and other Chemnitz residents are also invited to take advantage of this offer. With this coalition agreement, we hope to support students’ ability to balance academics with family life and to continually improve in our efforts.

For the city of Chemnitz, the new daycare center helps to ease the problem of high demand for daycare places, says Mayor Barbara Ludwig: “Chemnitz is growing – through more births and people moving into the city. The city is reacting this trend by expanding education facilities. Independent sponsors represent an important cornerstone in the effort to provide sufficient places in childcare facilities. I would like to thank Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau for their audacity, dedication and commitment to this endeavor.”

Proven Pedagogical Concept

The concept is based on the “Reggio Approach”, according to daycare director Katja Weinhold: “This means that children will determine their own development through their curiosity and creativity. They are allowed and encouraged to decide for themselves how they would like to spend their time. Often, they create projects and creative works based on collections of found objects and everyday items.” The teachers are therefore also companions on the children’s learning and exploration journey and offer opportunities for play and the essential basic conditions. Children are encouraged to construct their own toys according to their own imaginations. “We always attempt to interact with the children on their level and support them in whatever they are doing. We are always reflecting on the pedagogical process,” says Katja Weinhold.

The facilities are adapted to meet the pedagogical specifications. A large “piazza” in the middle of the building invites visitors to participate in a common exchange and to spend time together. The rooms are designed in an open format and are decorated with the children’s art projects. These “talking walls” are found throughout the building and they serve to document everyday life in the daycare center.

After a “settling in” phase, 17 teachers will care for 100 children. The places were assigned in a very short period of time. Applications from students and Chemnitz University members were assigned a higher priority. In addition, Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau has arranged an agreement with the Fraunhofer Institutes for daycare places. Applications for the center are also accepted via Chemnitz’s “Kita-Portal”.

“Campulino” is open from 7 am through 6 pm, corresponding to everyday university life. Minister Stange praised these operating hours: “The Saxon State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts is concerned with supporting scientists as they pursue their career paths. Oftentimes, they feel they are forced to choose between having a family and having a career. I hope that daycare centers like “Campulino”, whose opening hours are adapted to meet the demands of university operations, will help to ease some of this pressure.”

More information is available from: Ulf Walther, Director of Communications, Tel.: +49 371/628-126 // +49 172 9435 882, E-mail: ulf.walther@swcz.de

Background: Naming of the Daycare Center

The name “Campulino” emerged as a result of a competition among employees of Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau. It is intended to emphasize the closeness of the center to the university environment. The name is also intended to be understood across languages and borders, as children from 18 countries will attend “Campulino”.

Background: Family-friendly University

Chemnitz University was designated Saxony’s first family-friendly university. The audit was completed in 2007 and has since been re-confirmed multiple times. In June 2018, the university also signed the “Family in Higher Education Institutions” charter and reaffirmed its commitment to pursing ambitious standards in family-orientation.

Notice: This University News report is based on a press-release from Studentenwerk Chemnitz-Zwickau.

(Translation: Sarah Wilson)

Matthias Fejes

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