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Regina Kruse-Özçelik

Pedagogue • Entrepreneur • Enthusiast

My Vision

We talk about Kindergarten. Kinder-GARDEN.
A garden for our children.

Shouldn’t we then be creating a space in which, above all else, nature is integral?

A Kinder-GARDEN in which children can grow, develop and satisfy their natural need to move? Where they can develop their sense of perception, their power of concentration, explore their environment and gather experiences?

A Kinder-GARDEN with unlimited possibilities to express their imagination and creativity.

A Kinder-GARDEN where they can be children.

Project Based Learning

We are building our Future

If we want to prepare our children for future academic and personal success, why not start developing the necessary knowledge, understanding and skills now?

Project based learning (PBL) does just that!

  • Children explore real world problems and challenges in collaborative groups;
  • they use cross-curricular skills; and
  • maintain a high level of engagement and motivation throughout the process.

Children design every aspect of the process, from the earliest planning stages through to completion. This holistic, integrative way of learning mirrors real life and students develop a strong sense of responsibility towards their progress. By the end of each project they have a deep and lasting understanding of their subject and present their findings with confidence.

A Sample Unit

Project Based Learning: Methodology

  • A: Decide on the goal/problem
  • B: Brainstorm together with children
  • C: Sharing and planning: who does what and when
  • D: Presentation of the results (Evidence of learning)

1. Our Goal: “Enjoying healthy and delicious food together”

2. Brainstorm


  • Collecting seeds from fruit
  • Creating a seed book
  • Planting, tracking progress, harvesting
  • Straw Bale garden
  • Harvest festival in autumn
  • Zero Waste strategies: Composting, Up cycling

Food Preparation:

  • Vegetable soup
  • Fruit salad
  • Salad
  • Oats with fruit
  • Exploring the senses: sight, taste, touch, smell
  • Cooking and baking in large quantities

Room Design – Interiors:

  • Determining layout of dining room: chairs, tables, buffet
  • Flowers, greenery
  • Music
  • Serving and clearing (hygiene)
  • Building a children’s kitchen
  • Garden: Outdoor kitchen

Arts & Crafts:

  • Making ceramic plates/bowls
  • Making wooden bread boards and spoons
  • Papier-mâché fruit for role play

Exploring our Surroundings:

  • Restaurant
  • Market
  • Kitchen showroom
  • Nursery
  • Bee and butterfly farm in Beykoz
  • Visiting Experts: Biologist, Carpenter,...

Table Manners:

  • Setting the table (placemats, cutlery, napkins…)
  • Eating with others
  • Table manners
  • Open buffet

3. & 4. Sharing responsibilities & Evidence of Learning

End-of-unit Project Presentation after 8 weeks:
Harvest Festival & Breakfast with the Family

Younger children:

  • Setting the table with placemats of their own design.
  • Serving food on wood platters made by the students.
  • Homemade jam.
  • Serving fruit salad in ceramic dishes they made.
  • Decoration of the buffet table.
  • Presentation of their fruit seeds collection and their seed books as well displaying the seedlings they planted.
  • Printed placemats for the parents.

Older children:

  • Designing the breakfast invitations.
  • Presentation of the Bokashi and worm composter.
  • Showing parents the children’s kitchen and how it works.
  • Presentation of photos and videos of all their projects including the field trips, the building of their kitchen, handicrafts, and garden work.

Daily Life

Morning Timetable

08.30 - 09.00

Early Birds arrive - indoors & outdoors playtime

09.00 - 09.30

Service Bus arrives - outdoor playtime

09.30 - 10.00

Circle time & Project planning

10.00 - 10.30

Breakfast buffet: fruits & vegetables

10.30 - 11.45

Project time, indoors & outdoors

11.45 - 12.30


12.30 - 14.00

Full day children: story time & nap time

12.30 - 13.00

Half day children: outdoor playtime


Service bus leaves

Afternoon Timetable

13.00 - 14.45

Project time - indoors & outdoors

14.45 - 15.00

Snack: open buffet

15.00 - 15.30

Outdoor playtime


Service bus leaves

15.30 - 16.00

Pick up time for Late Birds

English Groups:

2 - 3 years: 2 teacher & 12 children
3 - 4 years: 1 teacher & 10 children
4 - 6 years: 1 teacher & 12 children

German Groups:

2 - 4 years: 1 teacher & 10 children
3 - 6 years: 1 teacher & 12 children

The calender will be updated with further meeting and celebration dates.

Outdoor Learning

Nature is not a luxury. Rather, it is essential, not only for our physical health, but for our emotional and psychological well-being.

For our children, then, it is crucial we provide them with ample outdoor experiences, where they will not only gain real life experience, but develop the skills they need to be happy, healthy and successful adults in the twenty-first century.

A new and growing trend in many schools is to keep children indoors in hygienic classrooms, shielded from environments that could make them sick. Unfortunately, it is exactly this overdose of sterility that weakens children’s immune systems and results in an increase of illness. Moreover, this indoor trend leads to a host of behavioural and developmental issues.

Outdoor education, on the other hand, fosters both a child’s physical and social development. Through outdoor projects, children experience complete sensory integration in harmony with nature, without overstimulation. They notice the changes in temperature as the seasons change, and even more subtle things such as how at different times of day, the temperature changes. Animal sounds (birdsong, the buzzing of bees) and the sounds of the forest, of the weather (wind, rain), will strengthen children’s auditory senses, encouraging the development of accurate and intensive listening skills. This in turn promotes concentration and phonemic awareness, essential for later literacy. Being in nature also relaxes and soothes children, and as they start to make connections between what they feel and the natural world, they will cultivate a lifelong awareness of self and a love of nature.

My own unforgettable and wonderful childhood was spent on a farm. The woodland was my second home. What better learning environment could there be?

Regina Kruse-Özçelik

Food & Health

  • All food is prepared on site in our kitchen, including bread and other baked goods
  • We make our own birthday cakes without artificial dyes or refined sugar
  • We use only seasonal fruits & vegetables
  • Our jams and tomato sauces are all homemade
  • We use whole grain flour, siyez bulgur, butter and olive oil
  • Red meat is served three days a week
  • We accommodate food allergies and can design custom food plans with parents

The Early Birds Journal

Get the latest news, updates and useful information about our pedagogic concept and life at Early Birds.