20. November 2019
The Vincerola International Montessori Day Nursery and Preschool, following in the footsteps of Maria Montessori, opened its doors on RWTH Aachen Campus in December 2014. Cornelius Jessen is the Managing Director of the daycare center and agreed to answer some questions for us.
What does the name Vincerola stand for? And what differentiates your concept from those of other daycare centers?
Vincerola is actually a made-up name. We associate it with feeling comfortable and safe and with lots of laughter and fun. We just liked the name. In terms of content, we follow the international Montessori concept, which is based on the motto “Help me to do it myself”. Specifically, that means that our kids will learn fine motor skills following a syllabus that is affiliated with the English curriculum. In other words: we promote creative development and plenty of exercise, while taking them on their first steps towards school.

The kids learn about mathematics, sensory perception and language. The latter, in particular, forms a large part of our daily work. We are a bilingual childcare facility and use the immersion method to get them to speak both languages quickly. Each group has a German-speaking childcare professional, as well as a native speaker from e.g. Great Britain or the Spanish-speaking region. The childcare personnel will only ever speak to the children in one language – we even have colleagues, who don’t speak any German at all and only communicate with the kids in their native language.

One special feature of our teaching approach is that the rooms are conceived in such a way as to not offer much distraction for the kids. We focus on what’s important – the kids have everything they need, but are not distracted and not overpowered by a mass of toys. The kids spend their time in topic-specific rooms, here they find everything they need for a constructive day. There is a library, a room for handicrafts or cooking, as well as project-focused areas, for example about our garden or topics like our universe.

What made you start a childcare facility on RWTH Aachen Campus?
We already had two childcare centers in Cologne and a market analysis convinced us to add one in Aachen. RWTH Aachen Campus is a perfect location for us. Here, people from many countries and backgrounds come together – we have an international audience. Exactly that is our target group, which meant that this was an interesting opportunity for us. Our strategy has borne fruit and we are now thinking about expanding our Aachen location.
What do you think makes the RWTH Aachen Campus location so special?
The diversity on RWTH Aachen Campus is most definitely very special. Many disciplines and their experts come together here with interesting topics, exchanges are quickly made and ideas can be discussed on  the short way. In terms of language, the campus is just as diverse as our daycare facility. The fact that the many different centers, institutes and companies on campus allow us to make a very diverse offering available to our kids, makes this location extra special for us. We have gone to see robots at the Fraunhofer Institute, took the kids on a tour of the Floriansdorf fire station, and have access to the herb garden at the university hospital. In our view, there is another very special factor: Whatever little problem we face on campus, there is always a solution. I can’t tell you how happy I am about all the support we get from all sides.
How many kids are you looking after at the Aachen childcare center? And are there any free places?
We currently have between 75-80 kids in six groups. We don’t want the groups to get too big – that is very important. There is a lot of demand in Aachen and especially for childcare places for kids under the age of three. We currently don’t have any free places.
Can you describe a day at your childcare facility?
The kids arrive between 7 and 9 am every day. That is when we sit down with them to have breakfast. All meals are prepared by our chef and we place a lot of importance on fresh, seasonal ingredients. After breakfast, the groups all get some free time to play, followed by circle time. Circle time is done in small groups and is different every day. The kids sing or make music, or talk about the seasons and the calendar. Circle time is also the time to plan projects as a group. Then there is a little snack break, followed by plenty of time outside on the playground. Alternatively, the kids work on projects or do some sports activities. Lunch time begins at 11:30 and the kids visit our own lunch room with their groups. After lunch, things slow down a little and the younger kids get to lie down for a nap. That is an important part of the day for our youngest ones. Once nap time is over, the kids get some fresh snacks, before they go back outside or do some more work on their projects.