1 Initial phase
The child is accompanied into the day nursery by one of their parents and spends a few hours in the group room. In the three-day phase, the preschool teacher observes the child and cautiously makes contact with them, usually by offering to play a game or getting involved when the child is playing. The parent is present and gives the child the necessary assurance but without forcing them, for example, to play with other children or even leave the room.
2 Stabilisation and separation phase
According to the Berlin model, the next phase begins on the fourth day. During this phase, the preschool teacher tries to help the child with their lunch, play with them and change their nappy to establish a basis of trust. During this phase, the parent only reacts to the child’s signals or actively intervenes if the preschool teacher has still not been accepted. Otherwise, there is only interaction between the preschool teacher and the child and the parent is simply present.
The first separation attempt is also made on the fourth day. The father or mother says goodbye to the child, leaves the room for about half an hour, but stays close by so that they can be called into the group room if necessary. The child’s reaction to this separation determines the length of the acclimatisation period. If the child acts independently and does not appear to be perturbed by the separation, the acclimatisation period lasts for about six days. The period spent in the day nursery and the separation periods are gradually increased.
However, if the child tries to follow the parent when the separation takes place, if they cry and cannot be comforted by the preschool teacher, the acclimatisation period is usually extended to about two or three weeks.
3 Final phase
The stabilisation phase is completed when the child has established an emotional bond with the preschool teacher. Although they may still protest when their parents leave the room, they can be quickly comforted by the preschool teacher. In the final phase, the parent is no longer present in the day nursery, but can be reached at any time so that they are there for the child in certain situations if the bond between the child and preschool teacher is broken.