Early childhood education
Children of all ages in the Northwest are introduced to education by learning through play using a variety of different approaches: the Children's University of Oldenburg turned ten years old in 2014. 69 lectures and 63,000 young attendees speak for themselves. In the lectures, the inquisitive future researchers learn exciting facts about subjects such as history, the body or the universe, generating enthusiasm for science and learning.
In order to provide children with a pleasant environment in which to learn and grow up, the Lower Saxony Institute of Early Childhood Education and Development organizes regular meetings and lectures. Educators are given training in order to prepare them for encounters with kindergarteners and grade-schoolers, learning about topics such as the conscious use of language or learning motivations in children. Children are encouraged to think outside the box at a young age: at nineteen grade schools in Lower Saxony, children can take part in Dutch-language lessons and gain greater familiarity with the neighboring country in a variety of ways.
People's ability to learn largely lasts a lifetime. Over the course of their lives, adults can even develop their learning skills: they collect professional experiences, hone their learning techniques and can organize their learning processes more effectively. In order to encourage this development, Oldenburg has a dedicated facility: the Center for Lifelong Learning (C3L) is at the most advanced facility in Germany in terms of developing innovative, alternative learning forms. Numerous certified programs allow university-level personal development. The Center is aimed not only at managers looking for a training provider, but also at all those who are interested in education who have a fondness for discussion of scientific topics.
Adult and further education in the State of Lower Saxony makes a substantial contribution to the varied range of training on offer in the Northwest for people of all ages. With a budget of over 50 billion euros, the many community colleges are among the facilities that receive support.
Books: the gateway to the world
Reading does not just allow readers to immerse themselves in new worlds without leaving their armchairs in the Northwest.
Numerous projects and institutions in the northwestern region are actively engaged in allowing people - especially younger readers - to experience the joy of reading. For over forty years now, children and young people (as well as their teachers and parents) have been attracted to Oldenburg in late fall to Germany's largest non-commercial exhibition of books for children and young people, known as KiBuM. The event is organized by the City of Oldenburg and the Carl von Ossietzky University. 2,500 new publications from all German-speaking countries build enthusiasm for literature in all its forms, and not just in children. Six municipal libraries quench the thirst for reading during the remainder of the year.
For those who don't live near Oldenburg, there is no need to miss out on reading experiences: the Book Bus of the Cuxhaven district stops regularly at over 120 locations throughout the area. Together with the Otterndorf Library, it has over 50,000 items that can be ordered on request if it is not currently available in the bus itself.
Tolerance and a cosmopolitan attitude
Social interactions in the Northwest take everyone into account and sometimes achieve the seemingly impossible. The North German Broadcasting Company set itself the challenge of sharing radio broadcasts with deaf children: each episode of the children's news program "Was diese Woche Wichtig War" ("That Was the Week that Was") was translated into sign language and broadcast online in a project that is unique in Germany.
The Friesland district also flies the flag for inclusiveness. Cycling and hiking trails feature "Art and Interaction Stations" for people including those with, and without disabilities. The Jever Castle Museum has a special museum pack for people with disabilities, including learning difficulties.
Oldenburg lives and celebrates its cosmopolitan nature each year on Christopher Street Day, when up to 10,000 people parade through the streets and celebrate culture and tolerance. Even though it was met with criticism when first held twenty years ago, today it is an official public event in the city and enhances the life of the city.