Audi creates more leeway for working parents: miedelHaus, run by the “bürgerhilfe ingolstadt KiTa GmbH” civil assistance initiative, provides good child care for employees’ children even at short notice – for instance if a work appointment or business trip arises suddenly, or if the usual kindergarten is closed.
It is just after 3 p.m., and the warm rays of the afternoon sun feel good. Almost every seat around the small blue garden tables is occupied. Time for an outdoor snack in Ingolstadt: There is a choice of fruit, chocolate whip and various popular drinks. “Can I have a cookie?” asks a boy who has just devoured an apple with real relish. At that moment a car pulls up on the other side of the fence around the site on Spretistrasse. “Hi Mom!” calls the boy and leaps up, his face beaming. He’s forgotten all about the cookie.
miedelHaus, run by the civil assistance initiative bürgerhilfe ingolstadt KiTa GmbH, seems just like any other daycare facility – and yet there is a major difference: The places are reserved for the children of Audi employees. There is plenty of space for up to twenty girls and boys aged between three and 14 here, in the direct vicinity of the plant. Through this project, AUDI AG is the first company in the automotive industry to offer flexible short-term care for employees’ children; the name of the establishment is a tribute to the founder of bürgerhilfe ingolstadt e.V., Genovefa Miedel.
Audi employees who have not yet found a kindergarten place or have been able to make other provision for their child after relocating can bridge the wait by using the miedelHaus. “Many working parents have a particular need for child care for a couple of hours or by the day if the regular kindergarten is closed, during school vacation or if they have to go away on business at short notice,” explains Bettina Graf, Director of miedelHaus, listing just some of the situations in which many families commonly find themselves. “We have been offering an unprecedentedly flexible form of child care since September 2012.” The doors of the Art Nouveau villa with its bright yellow paintwork are open from 5.30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every working day, and an online reservation system means that registrations are straightforward.
For Petr Kozak (Electronics Project Steering) miedelHaus is a real help and a brilliant way of juggling the demands of family life and work: “Considering that both my wife and I work, our relatives live a long way off and you can’t always ask friends to step in, the flexible child care service really suits us.” He explains that both his children (aged four and eight) attended the facility for two weeks during the school vacation. Children and parents alike were unreservedly happy with the entire experience. Kozak adds: “Ever since, miedelHaus has been something like a safety net in our family life.”
Katrin Löffler (Social Responsibility) has been using the facility ever since it opened. Her five-year-old daughter attended miedelHaus for the first time in September 2012, because the kindergarten was closed: “It didn’t take any getting used to. Quite the opposite – afterwards my daughter kept asking me when she could go to miedelHaus again.” She was impressed with the pleasant atmosphere right from the very first visit: “Not only does my daughter like it there, I as a mother have always found the educationally trained carers very open and friendly. miedelHaus is a haven of calm amid the challenges of everyday life.”
miedelHaus pays particular attention to the varying needs and interests of the children. There is an attentively furnished sleeping room for those needing a midday nap, and outdoors children can play in the sandbox or on the climbing equipment. Eight educational specialists supervise the children and organize special activities and projects geared to the individual requirements of their charges.
Every day Bettina Graf and her team are accustomed to welcoming new children, many of whom are there for the first time, maybe only for a couple of hours. “Our work is varied and stimulating, and our interaction with the parents very meaningful and supportive,” says the Director.