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The Human Safety Net for Families

The first six years are more crucial to our development than any other period in our lives. What children learn at this age and how they are treated shape their future well-being and success. For children to develop positively and enjoy equal chances in life, they need suitable encouragement, including a stimulating environment and loving support. Parents and other carers have a key role to play. 


Unequal opportunities have a direct and lasting impact on children from socially disadvantaged families. This is where The Human Safety Net for Families programme comes in. It provides an accompanied setting in which children can play and be creative while parents from many different backgrounds can share their thoughts on child-rearing and motivate one another.




Partners & initiatives

MegaMarie: a space to meet, play and be creative

Making things, trying things out, discovering the world with all your senses: learning through play and mutual exchange is not only fun, it also gives children that all-important brain food. MegaMarie, a space to meet, play and be creative, accompanies parents and children under 6 on everyday voyages of discovery. In an age dominated by tablets and mobile phones etc., singing, painting, reading and doing handicrafts together is a welcome distraction. The programme aims to inspire parents and other carers of young children by giving them the opportunity to exchange views and get advice from the professionals. 802 children visited MegaMarie in 2019.

MegaMarie is a project run by the Marie Meierhofer Institut für das Kind (MMI). For over 60 years, this centre of excellence for early childhood development has been committed to ensuring that children get what they need to grow up healthy, both inside and outside the family. In addition to facilitating time-tested play and learning opportunities, MMI and its partners use the space to try out new ideas. This is where research and practice meet: in future, the findings are to be used at other places where young children and their carers can meet as well as being incorporated into the basic and advanced training curriculum for playgroup leaders and nursery staff.


More information on the Marie Meierhofer Institut für das Kind (in German).