East German daycare experience

Everyone knows the term Kindergarten. In Germany, it means daycare for 3 to 6-year-old kids. Younger kids go to Kinderkrippe.

In East Germany, daycare was very well organized. There was a spot for every kid. Seriously. The places never closed except for public holidays. And the opening hours were parent/worker friendly from 6 am to 6 pm.

Back then it seemed like a birthright to have day care available and accessible to everyone. Obviously, I know better now. Today it seems more a luxury and it’s not to support the parents but to entertain the kids.

The majority of kids went to both institutions because most women/mothers worked even though it wasn’t a financial requirement. Basic goods were super cheap and available, and to get any non-basic items such as electronics, towels, kitchen items, bananas 🙂 etc. was either related to luck and showing up in stores at the right time or to your very valuable and important connections.

So we all went to daycare and had the same experiences learning the same songs, sharing the same toys and having the same food. It was all about… The same.

The location of our daycare center was rather beautiful. It was in the middle of the woods in the castles’ forest with just trees, a little creek and horse pastures. It was about a 5 minutes walkway from our home. The center itself was more like a trailer park home just bigger.

other castle pic

The things I remember well. Don’t ask me why.

Making flower wreath from daisies in the spring. During the summer, we took our blankets to the little castle hill to take our afternoon naps. I never slept. There was too much to look at… the castle, the giant old chestnut trees providing the shade and there was the sound of the little creek and all the birds. I loved to lay in the grass looking at the sky. In fall, we collected chestnuts and acorns and provided it to the village hunter organization to feed the wild animals mainly deer during the winter. And we had snowball fights and built snowmen during the winter. These are just a few things and I think you get the point. We didn’t miss anything growing up as kids in East Germany. Kids need very little to be happy and are happy with what they have and/or know even the potty training seemed ok 🙂

potty training.jpg

Potty Training and other natural noises/stinks:
We all set on the sh#t pots at the same time and were well potty trained before we turned one year or right around this age. No one was allowed to get up before finished business. I guess we all set on the pot together several times a day. I don’t remember myself sitting there lined up in a row but I remember seeing the toddlers when I was a bit older.

We were not allowed to make any other human noises or stinks outside the bathroom. If someone farted or there was a smell in the air the offender better raised his or her hand because they would smell you anyway. The daycare staff would sniff through all pants until the guilty was found and put in the corner. I assume but don’t remember whether your timeout in a corner was shorted when you volunteered to announce your misbehavior 🙂