Heilbronner Stimme finds kindergarteners enjoy their own newspaper

By Fiona Drewnitzky

The educational offerings of the media company are now available for kindergarteners.

After a very successful testing phase with 33 facilities for children, Heilbronner Stimme has decided that Zeitung im Kindergarten (Ziki) [newspaper in kindergarten] will be available every year. Almost all of the participating educators wanted to continue to use Ziki in the classroom.

The “Zeitung im Kindergarten” project provided loads of fun for 411 little children — looking for letters, cutting out photographs, playing with words, singing newspaper songs, making paper hats, happily crumpling up pages, and playing with paper balls.

In 2012, we invited kindergartens to apply to participate in the Ziki pilot project. Many of the kindergarten teachers and parents were convinced of the value of the project straight away. Of the 120 facilities that were contacted, 33 responded, including pre-school groups ranging from five to 31 children.

For three weeks in November 2012, the kindergartens received — at no cost — a daily newspaper for every child. In all, 11,340 newspapers were distributed in this way.

Kindergarten teachers were introduced to the project during an opening event. They also received a project guide of nearly 100 pages containing suggestions on how to use the newspaper and how to include parents in the project.

Parents were given information brochures and, together with the kindergarten teachers, a tour of the publishing house of Heilbronner Stimme. Every child got a games booklet. Then, during a closing event, kindergarten teachers, parents, and project agents shared their experiences.

The editorial team fully supported Ziki. Every day, there was a special Ziki message and a treasure hunt for the children, and every Tuesday and Friday a story to read. Guides to pre-school topics from a family perspective were published for parents along with project update reports.

Our new, regional parent-child kindergarten magazine, launched in December, and also named Ziki, is published six times annually and distributed in all kindergartens free of charge.

When the new newspaper mascot “Stimmchen” from the kids’ page appeared among the children, he caused quite a stir. He let the children dance with him and touch his costume. He admired their Ziki newspaper posters and handiwork, and at the end of his visit, posed with the little ones for a group photo.  

All group photos appeared in the magazine at the end of the project. All kindergartens in the distribution area will receive a copy of it, even those that do not participate in the educational Ziki project.

“Ziki speaks to girls and boys at an age when they are particularly hungry for new things,” says Stimme Chief Editor Uwe Ralf Heer. “A newspaper is an ideal way of supporting childish curiosity and the desire to learn.”

Kindergarten teachers felt the same way: “We would also like to try the project with younger children, especially with regard to early childhood learning. Even 3-year-olds were interested in the newspaper and recognised things in it.”

A subsequent evaluation of Ziki by Media Consulting Team (mct) showed that the children had particular fun with the handicraft work and motion games in the newspaper. However, letter games were also rated from good to very good in two-third of the groups.

Some kindergarten teachers also successfully practised the use of numbers and geometric figures within Ziki.

Ziki is produced in cooperation with the mct. The agency developed the concept and assumes organisational tasks. Other project partners and sponsors are the Academy for Innovative Education and Management Heilbronn-Franken (aim) and Experimenta (Science Centre of the region Heilbronn-Franken).

In conjunction with the project, aim offered additional workshops for kindergarten teachers.

About Fiona Drewnitzky

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