A Kindergarten In Nature

Bank GLS Bank
Client Max Göbel
Location Berlin, Germany

At the wonderful little park Glienicke near Berlin lies an old hunting lodge, the Jägerhof, originally part of the castle Klein Glienicke. Being part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, the listed building is not only a piece of a history set within nature but also gives a magical feeling of security. Whilst far away from the hustle-bustle of the city of Berlin, it has good transport connections and is the perfect place for childrens’ development.

The focus of the innovative kindergarten, surrounded by nature, provides ideal conditions for diverse activities, which help children sense their own identity.

Finding this idyllic place, Max Göbel was motivated to open his own innovative kindergarten. ‘It has been my dream for a long time to establish an innovative kindergarten. When my child was born, I finally decided to fullfill this wish,’ he remembers. In June 2012 his dream was realised and the Center for Early Childhood Development and Family Health opened its doors for a total of 45 children including disabled children.

Based on the concept of being close to nature, the children have the possibility to be outside for most of the day. And when the weather doesn’t allow the children to go outside they listen to stories or play with selected Montessori materials in the rooms of the Jägerhof. Before getting the project started, the building needed significant repair and modernisation, so Göbel looked for a financial partner to accompany him in realising his dream. Having a MBA helped Max look after the economic efficiency of the project together with GLS Bank and their expertise in financing kindergartens. ‘What I really value in the relationship with GLS Bank is the honest interest in the work of their clients,’ he comments. ‘GLS Bank as a partner represents sustainability, ecological awareness and social engagement.’

The focus of the innovative kindergarten being surrounded by nature provides ideal conditions for diverse activities which help children sense their own identity. Nevertheless, having a unique location sheltered in the middle of a forest provided some difficulties since it is not directly accessible by car. However, Göbel managed to solve this challenge: The kindergarten teachers pick up the children at two different points easily accessible by parents and then escort them through the woods back to the Jägerhof. Another way of embodying a healthy connection to society is the individual consideration of each parent’s financial situation, with tuition fees being set relative to their income. Besides that, food procured for the kindergarten is delivered by regional and organic suppliers.

Petra Kupka-Schmidt, Max Göbel’s Loan Advisor says that: ‘Having the expertise in special sectors like education, health and care facilities, accommodation, organic farming and renewable energy not only makes GLS Bank an equal partner, it gives entrepreneurs the possibility to be a part of a network, collaborating with other entrepreneurs in the same sector . For example, Max Göbel is joining a kindergarten network established by GLS Bank, which enables him to exchange views on day-to-day challenges.’