The “Haus der kleinen Forscher” plaque
The certification is available only in Germany. It is valid for two years and must be renewed thereafter.
Early childhood education and care centres, after-school centres, and primary schools in Germany that regularly take their students on “voyages of scientific discovery” can apply for certification as a “Haus der kleinen Forscher” (Little Scientists’ House). The Foundation’s aim in awarding the certificate and the accompanying plaque is to support quality development in these educational institutions and to recognize and make publicly visible their commitment to inquiry-based science education and scientific literacy.
Quality dimensions: When is an institution a “Haus der kleinen Forscher”?
The Foundation reviews applications for certification as a “Haus der kleinen Forscher” (Little Scientists’ House) on the basis of the following four quality dimensions:
1. The foundations of the house: Quality of orientation
The quality of orientation constitutes the foundations of the house: Is scientific, mathematical, and technical content part of your institution’s pedagogic concept or your school programme? Do the educators/teachers attend professional development courses?
2. The foundation walls: Structural quality
What kind of “space for inquiry” does your institution provide for children? What materials and resources are available? How are decisions made regarding the content of scientific, mathematical, and technical education?
3. The interior: Process quality
Process quality describes the “how”: How are inquiry activities conducted at your institution? How do you as an educator or teacher accompany the girls and boys in their learning process? From our point of view, what is important here is that children and adults form a learning community and develop together.
4. The surroundings or the outdoor space: External openness
This area of quality comprises all activities that bring outsiders into the everyday life of your institution. This can include involving families, collaborating with institutions or companies, and visiting other educational institutions.
Criteria for certification
The criteria for certification as a “Haus der kleinen Forscher” are based on the quality aspects of the “German Kindergarten Seal of Quality” developed by Prof. Dr Wolfgang Tietze, Manager of PädQUIS gGmbH and on the “Process-Oriented Quality Criteria for Science Education” formulated by Prof. Dr Jörg Ramseger.