Diversity is firmly embedded in our corporate values. 50% of our employees are men and 50% are women. Worldwide, we have over 50,000 employees in around 160 countries. Our World of Kids daycare centre also includes 18 different nationalities originating from countries all over the world. This is sufficient reason for me to ask how diversity is reflected in our daycare centre and how it handles the subject of diversity and inclusion.
Ingrid König, the manager of the World of Kids, answers my question with an educational example:“Look! Children often attract our attention with this word or with a gesture meaning the same thing. They draw our attention to their joy and enthusiasm, to their discoveries and achievements.” This is when children need adults who don’t answer too hastily, but can be amazed and ask questions themselves. The wider the interests and the greater the wealth of experience and strengths of educators, and consequently the diversity of the team, the more likely children are to find teachers who join them on journeys of discovery.
“The World of Kids team is a particularly good example of a wealth of diversity”
Ingrid König, Manager of the adidas World of Kids
- We grew up in the German regions of Upper Bavaria, Franconia, Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia, as well as in Boston, Singapore, Australia and Hungary.
- Our ages range between 21 and 54.
- Our team consists of 3 men and 28 women.
- Our staff consists of pre-school teachers, social education workers, teachers, a childhood educationalist, a dietician, a cook, a sports teacher, a childcare assistant, a family therapist, an air hostess and a housekeeper.
- Some of us don’t have children and others have up to three children.
- We are English speakers and German speakers, but some can also speak Hungarian, Franconian, Bavarian, Saxon, Spanish and Hindi.”
Ingrid König’s team also includes three men. This is a relatively high number for a Bavarian daycare centre and is well above the average. The presence of a male specialist is important and helps promote gender mainstreaming, as well as broadening the children’s view of life.
“As the protected framework of the daycare centre is supposed to be a reflection of society, only the presence of both sexes can provide a full picture,” says Ingrid. König. Hannah Rogers is the bilingual childcare assistant at the World of Kids. After completing her training at the Academy for Social Education, she travelled the world for almost seven years as an international air hostess. Hannah has been to almost every continent in the world, enabling her to meet people from many different cultures.
Influenced by these experiences, she gained tolerance, acceptance and respect for cultural differences as well as a knowledge of the customs and traditions of other countries. Hannah often experienced a great sense of amazement and wonder during her time as an air hostess. This also enables her to empathise very well with the children’s situation and to accompany them on their ‘journey of discovery through the world of questions’.
Richard Reichert is one of the three men in the team. When I asked him how important mixed teams are for a daycare centre, he immediately gave me three reasons:
- Male staff enhance the overall range of services offered by an organisation, often because of their specific interests, specialist subjects or personal hobbies, which are sometimes very different to those of their female colleagues.
- Boys and girls need male as well as female role models and attachment figures to enable balanced and healthy development.
- It is not always easy for men and women to get along together and this sometimes leads to problems due to gender-specific or typical differences. It is vital that we learn to get along and it is best if this can already be achieved in nurseries. Men and women working together in a team in an equal partnership provides an excellent example of how to get along.
She ensures that every child and baby, including those with allergies, is provided with suitable food. She bakes, cooks, cuts, stirs, mixes and combines food ingredients together with the children in order to concoct a wide variety of dishes in the ‘little kitchen’.There is also diversity with regard to the food on offer. Providing the children with a healthy and well-balanced diet is a passion for Stephanie Holcomb, the dietician.
Like the adidas Group, the World of Kids creates an environment that promotes, respects and accepts diversity.
Every child should feel comfortable here and be able to go on journeys of discovery and fully develop an enquiring mind. I hear the word ‘look’ near me and a little 3-year-old boy shows me how fast he can zoom along the race track on his toy car.