What are the benefits of inclusive education

Integrative kindergarten

1. Definition and creation of integrative kindergartens

An integrative kindergarten is a day-care facility that follows the principle of inclusion. Inclusive education means that the diversity of children is taken for granted. Education and upbringing must therefore be granted equally to everyone regardless of individual possibilities and requirements. For the integrative kindergarten, this means that children with and without disabilities are cared for and supported together. The nature of the predominant restriction and whether it has also been diagnosed by a doctor only plays a subordinate role.


The emergence of integrative kindergartens goes back to the pedagogical beginnings of special education and support for disabled children, for which Pestalozzi was already campaigning. In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was thanks to the commitment of teachers, Christian employees and medical professionals that disabled people were also allowed to receive an education according to their individual resources. However, it was not until the 1960s that educational institutions for the disabled came into being.



However, these were still a long way from today's integrative kindergartens. Many years of social science research were necessary before it became clear that the joint care and support of disabled and non-disabled children can bring benefits for all parties. It was not until the 1980s that the idea of ​​integration took hold and the first integrative approaches could find their way into day-care centers.


2. The image of man in integrative kindergartens

The concept of human beings in integrative kindergartens is fundamentally strongly shaped by the idea of ​​inclusion - people are perceived and accepted in their diversity. Every child is considered to be unique and shows differences from others, both physically and mentally, intellectually, emotionally and socially. It is precisely this individuality and complexity that makes the child's personality valuable and worthy of protection, with every child being granted the right to develop their personality, in which they themselves are actively and competently involved. In the center, however, the basic tenor of inclusion remains the guideline that no one should be disadvantaged or excluded because of their own peculiarities.


Beyond this inclusive conception of people, an integrative kindergarten can be shaped by the respective image of the human being. If there is a strong reliance on the human rights of the Basic Law in state institutions, then it is the religious worldviews that point the way in church institutions.


3. Pedagogical concept of integration

The core element of the educational concept of integrative kindergartens is the joint care and support of children with and without disabilities, while accepting and without evaluating these differences that are taken for granted. Logically, this joint care of children with different needs requires a special staff structure. In integrative kindergartens, for example, the personnel key is calculated in such a way that fewer children have more educators. The employment of specially trained integration specialists is mandatory for an integrative kindergarten.


In addition, the pedagogical concept of integrative kindergartens aims at the greatest possible partnership of all people involved in the upbringing. This can be seen above all in the close involvement of the parents. The promotion of communicative and social skills is moved to the center of pedagogy.


Although the integration and inclusion of integrative kindergartens already result in their own pedagogical concepts, this does not exclude the involvement of other pedagogical approaches. Partially open, open or closed group work can be pursued as well as the situational approach. Interestingly, it can be observed that most integrative kindergartens follow the pedagogical principles of Maria Montessori.


4. Target group of integrative kindergartens

The special conception of the integrative kindergarten addresses disabled and non-disabled children equally. Families with a disabled child must see the integrative kindergarten as an interesting alternative to the special kindergarten for their child. Parents of non-disabled children should at best identify with the sociological ideas of integration and inclusion and be interested in integrating disabled people into all areas of life and want to convey precisely these values ​​to their child.


In this sense, integrative kindergartens are aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 6, with a maximum of five children per group usually being admitted with restrictions. Crèches and day nurseries with integrative approaches also exist sporadically. Unfortunately, it is not possible to accept children with multiple disabilities due to the actual intensity of care.


5. Everyday life in an integrative kindergarten

Structures are of immense importance when dealing with disabled children. Fixed daily routines provide fixed points at which the children can find important orientation aids. It is precisely for this reason that integrative kindergartens often have a clearly defined daily structure:


Delivery time

As part of the bringing phase, which usually lasts until 9 a.m., the children are brought to the kindergarten by their parents and there are received by the teachers. Until the official joint start, the children can play in the free play.


Morning circle

To set a clear starting point, morning groups are organized in integrative kindergartens, during which the plans for the week or the day are discussed. The children also have the opportunity to tell things that are important to them.


Free spin

As part of the free play, disabled and non-disabled children have the opportunity to occupy themselves in their interests. This can be done with games at the table, in functional rooms, on the open-air site or as part of specific offers and projects by the teachers. This time is also intended to specifically support handicapped children.


First pick up time

Children in half-day care are usually picked up between 11.30 a.m. and 1 p.m., depending on the individually booked care.


Lunch care

For children who are also in the afternoon care of the integrative kindergarten, the afternoon starts with lunch and a subsequent rest phase. Then the afternoon is spent in free play or with guided projects.


In this general structure, the integrative kindergarten differs only slightly from non-integrative care facilities. Only the rigid adherence to the defined structure can be seen as a peculiarity in the daily routine.


However, so that an integrative kindergarten can work in the interests of the children, it needs specially trained staff who act as support teachers to take care of the needs of the disabled children. These support pedagogues are mostly educators with special educational additional training. They accompany the kindergarten group during the morning and are responsible for implementing targeted support offers with the disabled children. They also provide the necessary assistance in play and everyday situations.


  • Children with and without restrictions or disabilities live actively together in a community
  • mutual consideration becomes a central issue
  • integrative kindergartens train social behavior from an early age
  • disabled and non-disabled children can learn from each other
  • Being different becomes a matter of course, exclusion is not an issue
  • integrative kindergartens teach tolerance
  • disabled children experience holistic support here
  • the personnel key of these institutions is usually calculated generously
  • the kindergarten groups are smaller than in other institutions
  • Employing skilled workers ensures that any problems that may arise in all children, including non-disabled children, are identified at an early stage
  • mostly such facilities work with high quality play materials


  • Kindergarten fees in integrative institutions are usually higher than elsewhere
  • Despite a better personnel key, there is often a shortage of personnel
  • specially trained integration specialists are rarely on site
  • In most integrative kindergartens, only a few places are actually designated as real integration places
  • As a result, integration children often have to wait a long time before they are accepted
  • It is not uncommon for such kindergartens to be faced with prejudices
  • the spatial framework conditions of integrative kindergartens are often not handicapped accessible


Integration is a controversial issue in terms of educational policy, which repeatedly causes a sensation in the course of upcoming election campaigns. Consequently, in terms of early childhood education, inclusion must already begin in kindergarten and this is exactly the idea that integrative kindergartens pursue.


Whether a kindergarten works according to the principle of inclusion has primarily nothing to do with its sponsorship. Conversely, every sponsor can open an integrative kindergarten. In practice, this means that interested parents should participate


  • social institutions such as AWO, Caritas or Diakonie,
  • Institutions active in the integration of the disabled, such as Lebenshilfe,
  • denominational daycare centers,
  • Cities and towns as well
  • through parenting initiatives


be able to develop an integrative kindergarten. Individual inquiries in the respective institution are therefore essential.


The same applies to the cost structure, which can be individually defined in the integrative day care centers. The price range is very broad and ranges from 60 euros to 300 euros, depending on the individual cost definition of the carrier. Some institutions also provide for contributions based on the income of the parents.


The massive price discrepancy results from the different care intensities for disabled and non-disabled children. The lowest contribution rate is usually charged for children without intensive care needs, although this is higher than that of the non-integrative institutions due to the better personnel ratio. In the integrative daycare centers, however, handicapped children are often treated as crèche children purely from a contributory point of view and are consequently subject to a surcharge. For this surcharge due to the need for intensive care, the parents can, however, apply for a subsidy from the responsible ministries of social affairs in the sense of the socially regulated participation of disabled people in social life. Any diaper fees or food expenses are to be paid separately.


9. School concepts for inclusion

For children who attend an integrative kindergarten, when choosing the subsequent school concept, a distinction must be made between whether a disability was the reason for attending an institution that is conceptually oriented towards inclusion. If not, all enrollment options available in the German school system come into question. If, on the other hand, there is a disability, the parents have the following options:


  • Attendance at an integrative school, which is not operated nationwide in Germany
  • Visit to a special school for children
  • Attending a regular school or an alternative school system with the help of an integration worker or an integration teacher.


Author: Verena Fischer,
State-certified educator with Kneipp health training for children
Last update: January 2021
Date created: May 2016
Use for technical work, school projects, etc. without a commercial background is permitted provided the source is stated: https://www.Kindererbildung.com