Every day that children attend the Gärtnerhaus Schöpflin, they experience the core principles on which our activities are built. These range from experiencing and putting into practice the principles of democracy; the shaping of what Freud called the ego-strength as a basis for addiction prevention; and showing respect to other people and communicating with others in a non-aggressive way. Here children develop nuanced communication skills and learn how to use their free time in a constructive way – with each activity tailored to match their specific age. Each child is given the chance to understand his or her environment and actively interact with it. The materials available support and promote concentration and clarity of thought. At the Gärtnerhaus children are able to experience a sense of community; to exchange ideas in a way that is tailored to suit their age; and to come to know their own strengths. This overall experience stimulates the development of a self-reliant personality. Equally, disabled children and those from disadvantaged backgrounds are of course also able to be part of this group: here, we see inclusion as part of the experience of learning how to live together.
The Gärtnerhaus Schöpflin – established in 2004 – is operated jointly with the Kinderhaus Schöpflin (our children’s house for children from 12 months to 3 years) and the nearby Montessori school, the Kinderhaus auf dem Bühl. The Gärtnerhaus is in the former gardener’s lodge building in the grounds of the Villa Schöpflin. It was here, at what was formerly known as the Lindenhof residence in the Lörrach suburb of Brombach, that the Schöpflin siblings grew up - surrounded by apple trees, beehives, hen coops and an old redwood tree. In the 1980s, in order to maintain and sustain these idyllic childhood surroundings, the Schöpflin siblings opened up the grounds for future generations of children. In so doing, they stopped the land from being turned into a large commercial site. Over the course of the last thirty years they have created a world for children and grown-ups alike, filled with harmony, affection, security and variety.