First-ever kindergarten in a zoo opens in Switzerland

First-ever kindergarten in a zoo opens in Switzerland

For most children, a trip to the zoo is one of life’s rare and great treats. However, for a few young kids in Canton Schwyz, the wildlife of the world is now a constant companion, with the Goldau Nature and Animal Park recently opening their own “zoo kindergarten.”

First kindergarten in a zoo opened in Schwyz

Speaking to 20 Minuten, the park’s owners said that their new “zoo kindergarten” is a “groundbreaking learning project.” Since the end of the school holidays, 11 children have had the opportunity to go to a preschool within the zoo itself called "Tierpark Kindergarten".

Goldau Zoo said that it is the “first public kindergarten in a zoological facility” and is designed to teach kids by “learning and experiencing nature”, with four of every five school days being spent outside. The idea takes heavy influence from the “forest kindergarten” concept - where children aged three to six years old are encouraged to explore and learn about forests under adult supervision.

Children thrive when learning in nature, say organisers

“In nature, children gain experiences that support their physical, emotional, cognitive and social development…Learning outdoors takes particular account of children’s natural urge to play and move and promotes their development holistically”, the zoo wrote. 

Fabienne Baumann, the kindergarten teacher, told 20 Minuten that they plan to take the kids out into nature in all weather, although they can retreat to an indoor classroom to avoid the wet and cold. “We want to use learning materials from nature, observe animals, explore the park and have experiences close to nature”, she noted, arguing that the kids develop research, technical and environmental skills by continually going outside.

Tierpark Kindergarten to be trialled for two years

The kindergarten itself is a pilot project set to last two years, created with the agreement and help of local schools, the local institute of higher education and authorities in the canton. For more information about the Tierpark Kindergarten, check out the official website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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