2.1.4 Content: curriculum, subjects

Number of hours within the curriculum

The pre-schools curriculum [Vorschule] schedules a total of 20 lessons (16,7 hours) a week or 633 hours a year. About 25% of school time is reserved for subjects related to arts and cultural education:

  • Singing and making music: 1,5 lessons a week (47,5 hours a year);
  • Rhythmical/musical education: 1 to 1,5 lessons a week (32 to 47,5 hours a year).

On a weekly basis, a third of lessons is reserved for physical education and sports [Bewegung und Sport] and for play [Spiel] (in a broad sense), (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 28).

Culture and the arts in the environment

At the basis of cultural education in pre-primary education is an emphasis on characteristics of the seasons and on school events that consider regional and local circumstances. The gradual development of social skills and social rules should be an integral part of all pre-primary teaching, so that children acquire personal competencies such as creativity and perseverance. (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 75-78). 

To implement the pre-primary curriculum it is necessary that a classroom can be turned into a learning- and living space suitable for young children. It should include a corner for play, a corner for games with building-blocks and a corner for reading equipped with the necessary material. It is especially emphasised that children encounter reality outside the school building (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 13).

Subjects related to culture and the arts:

  • Language and speech [Sprache und Sprechen] integrates aspects of artistic education: by looking at drawings and picture books young children learn to differentiate between visual objects which help to develop their visual perception [Differenzierung der optischen Wahrnehmung], encourages them to focus their attention and helps them to express themselves linguistically.
  • Preparation for (hand)writing [Vorbereitung des Schreibens] includes rhythmical movement, graphic design and the creative use of symbols (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 53).
  • Early mathematical education [Mathematische Früherziehung] has many connections with artistic-, crafts-, musical and rhythmical-musical education Through mathematical education children become familiar with the distinctive qualities of colours, surfaces, forms, patterns and materials. They also experience elementary dimensions and aspects of space and relative positions, directions, analogies, rhythmical structures (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 55 - 60).
  • Singing and making music [Singen und Musizieren] enables children to become familiar with various musical phenomena in a playful way. Music is not a set subject, but through singing children have the opportunity to express themselves emotionally and to make contact with others. Children become aware of melodic and rhythmic analogies between music and spoken language and of the use of graphic symbols and music notation.
    They also learn to classify sounds in the environment as these sounds are used in creative experiments, in improvisation, playing and elementary performance.
    Children will derive pleasure from singing and making music and from making social contacts with the help of music. To bring this about, children should get in touch with music every day (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 61 et seq.).
  • Rhythmical-musical education [Rhythmisch-musikalische Erziehung] aims to contribute to the development of children's personality in general. It also helps to develop personal competencies such the ability to discriminate between concepts, to focus, to act, react and relax and to develop creativity and social competencies, and a sense of order and integration (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 64-65). 
  • Visual art [Bildnerisches Gestalten] introduces children in a playful way to graphical design through drawing, painting and modelling through the use of materials that are closely connected to children's living environment (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 66-67).
  • Crafts [Werkerziehung] basically focuses on handicraft and technology, but the learning processes can form a basis for aesthetic comprehension. By using certain materials and tools children gain basic insights into building and living circumstances, technology and production, including production of textiles. Children develop simple skills, acquire adequate terminology and learn to express themselves verbally. Furthermore pupils learn to cope with new situations in all fields of activity. (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 68-70).
  • Physical education/sports [Bewegung und Sport] focuses on movement and contributes to the passing on and the acquisition of traditional games, with the emphasis on playful activities. Physical education/sports helpts to achieve the personal and social aim of the curriculum in that it helps to 'improve a readiness to engage oneself actively and to turn towards the others' [Aktivitäts- und Zuwendungsbereitschaft]. Physical education/sports stresses the importance of cooperative behaviour and discourages an attitude of mere competition. ( Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 72-74).
  • Play [Spiel] emphasises the importance of a cooperative attitude. At the basis of Play is the 'principle of methodical play' [Methodisches Prinzip Spiel] through which children gradually develop an awareness of social rules.

The principal of methodical play should pervade all educational areas of pre-primary teaching. Activities such as playing with constructing material [Konstruktionsspiele] aim at developing personal competencies such as creativity and endurance. (Lehrplan der Volksschule, 2008, p. 75-78).