Gira is now also a place to play
Germany is investing in childcare. Nevertheless, compared to other European countries, the result is still unsatisfactory - current provisions prevent us from clinching anything better than a mid-table place. In relation to this, the Scandinavian countries are pioneers: they allocate substantial funds to making it easier for mothers to return to work. A basic requirement is a sufficient supply of daycare centres. Now, Gira has constructed its own children's day-care centre on the company's premises. It was inaugurated in September.
Becoming a mother is easy enough, but being one can be very rough. What Wilhelm Busch once mused about as a father now reflects a real social risk: many mothers are threatened with a significant pension gap. Those who wish to prevent this need to return to work as soon as possible. For this to happen, however, there has to be a degree of reconciliation between work and family. Although this is the task of the state, companies can also make a valuable contribution.
In keeping with its family-friendly corporate policy, Gira made an important difference: supported by the Radevormwald council, the company had constructed a children's day care centre on its premises. "The reconciliation of family and work is something we take very seriously," emphasised Dirk Giersiepen, Managing Partner at Gira, at the opening ceremony. "This means that Gira provides a childcare option for the period in which most families are faced with a gap in such provisions."
The childcare centre will accept infants and pre-nursery school children from six months up to the age of 3. "The first three years are formative for children," states Dirk Giersiepen. "We wanted to make a real contribution in this area." Corresponding opening hours aim to help parents to balance their career and family life stress-free. For instance, the centre will also remain open during the summer holidays. "And if a child needs its parents, mum or dad can just pop in. This helps to ensure that both parents and children are relaxed and happy, whilst simultaneously guaranteeing that family-friendly corporate policies are upheld at Gira," explains Martina Kahl, contact person for work and family at Gira, who is also responsible for the childcare centre project.
The actual building, which is reminiscent of a wide, curved wave, is set into the hillside. A continuous glass façade bathes the building interior in light. Wherever possible, natural, sustainable and local building materials were used. The dominant construction material is wood, whilst the roof is vegetated. The outdoor area was designed especially as a space to play and run.
Inside, the centre offers spacious and versatile surroundings for around 20 infants. They will be cared for in two groups by trained and state-qualified childcare workers. Open areas are available for both groups, in addition to group-specific spaces and quiet retreats for individual attention.
And it's finally ready to go – Gira is now also a place to play! The first children will start on 6 October, and the 20 places are fully booked until summer 2015. Nevertheless, special caution and consideration is already called for on the Gira premises: the bobby cars are revving their engines.
"The reconciliation of family and work is something we take very seriously," emphasised Dirk Giersiepen, Managing Partner at Gira, at the opening ceremony.
The actual building, which is reminiscent of a wide, curved wave, is set into the hillside. A continuous glass façade bathes the building interior in light. Wherever possible, natural, sustainable and local building materials were used.
The inauguration of the children's day-care centre on the Gira premises in September 2014.
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