Maulwurfshausen, a Rather Brilliant Kids Education Initiative

Maulwurfshausen, a Rather Brilliant Kids Education Initiative

By  Tuesday, 10.3.2015, 18:01    Munich for Kids

In an age where children are more obsessed with television, video games and iPads, it was refreshing to come across a fabulous kids project with a 40-year history in Munich which has kept kids both entertained and educated, with not a television in sight.

As soon as I heard about the Maulwurfshausen project, I wanted to visit. At 45, I am perhaps a little old to be an active member, but with my daughters coming at Easter, I was keen to find some cool things to entertain them in Munich.

And Maulwurfshausen project IS cool, a ramshackle collection of wooden buildings in a park by the side of the road near Quiddestrasse in South-East Munich. 

It looked like a poor man's Disneyworld, as I entered, my single status without accompanying children understandably raising some suspicions, especially when I started to take pictures. 

And it may look like a poor man's Disneyworld, but as an educational and recreational tool in the heart of city known for its technology, it is an absolute jewel. As I understood it from one of the very helpful adults at the centre, the project is a serious attempt to help local children express themselves, learn some skills and responsibility, by being part of a community to which they can contribute. 

Central to the concept is the Maulwurfshausen citizen's ID, a passport of sorts. Entry to the site is free for all, but the intention is NOT to function as a free kindergarten. With an ID, contact details of the child's parents are included and the child can use the ID as a deposit to borrow tools, teaching a sense of responsibility. There are skilled adults on site, and children - under supervision - can learn skills such as sawing and building. Many of the eclectic wooden constructions on the site have been built by the kids themselves over the years.  

It is open daily from 13:00 to 18:00, but it is important to note that the project, which is partly financed by the local authority, is aimed at providing an educational platform for local kids from the area - some 40 - 50 are regulars here. The project has gotten a lot of publicity in recent times, and the summer months can see as many as 300 kids descend at one time, which renders the aims of the centre useless.  

I spoke to some of the adults and children, and I was struck at the sense of community and adherence to nature in the middle of a big European city. As a way of keeping kids off the streets and away from the trappings of modern technology, here was a healthy and educational alternative.  

And Maulwurfshausen is not alone. My very helpful tour guide provided me with a wonderful map of 11 other such centres in and around Munich (see below). 

A wonderful initative and one I would like to get to know in greater detail, although I can fully appreciate the arrival of lots of kids not from the area is detrimental to the project.  

To learn more about the project, visit the Maulwurfshausen website

 

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Paul Bradbury

After 12 years living on the most gorgeous island in the world, Hvar in Dalmatia, I have begun to wonder if there is still life beyond its shores. Prior to discovering Paradise in 2002, I was a world traveller, living and working in Japan, Georgia, Somalia, Rwanda, Russia... and Munich.

After 95 countries and some 25 years have passed, the memories of my year in the hotel industry in the Bavarian capital (fired by the Sheraton for losing our pet snake, the first male chambermaid at Hotel Arabella, and a truly eye-watering introduction to five-star living in  my days as a bellboy in luxury Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten) are strong, and the call of Munich has been a constant theme over the last quarter century. 

And so here I am, answering the call some 25 years later. Twelve years of island living have changed me for sure, but also left me curious about life in a big city, and whether or not I could adapt to it after such an insular decade. 

I was surprised to see that for such a magnificent multi-cultural city, English-language blogs and regularly updated information are not that available. Static tourism information, such as that provided by the excellent tourist board website yes, but accounts of daily life delivered daily? Hard to find.

And so I have decided to take a break from my idyllic island and see if I could live in a city again. And what better way to try than to discover modern Munich in all its facets after so many years. It is a journey of discovery which I am relishing, and I hope the site proves to be of interest for Munich residents and its numerous visitors.

About Paul Bradbury

Author of Lebanese Nuns Don't Ski, Lavender, Dormice and a Donkey Named Mercedes and Hvar's first comprehensive guidebook, Hvar: An Insider's Guide to Croatia's Premier Island, as well as co-author of Split: An Insider's Guide with Mila Hvilshoj, I have lived in Dalmatia full time since 2003. In addition to running Total Munich, I also run Total Split (www.croatia-split.com), Total Hvar (www.total-hvar.com) and Total Inland Dalmatia (www.total-inland-dalmatia.com), as well as being an accredited Google News journalist for Digital Journal in Canada.

I also have various blogging clients, including the Central Dalmatia Tourist Board, European Coastal Airlines, Touristar TV and Andro Tomic Wines, and print clients include Qatar Airways inflight magazine, Out! magazine from New York, and Croatian Hotspots. 

In December 2014 I was delighted to receive the Marko Polo 2014 Award from FIJET Croatia (Federation of International Travel Writers and Journalists)  at a ceremony for the Croatian Journalists Society for the best international tourism promotion of Croatia. More here.

Ongoing writing projects:

A History of Hajduk Split, co-author with Frane Grgurevic - in 2015

Around the World in 80 Disasters - out in 2015

Total Hvar in the Media:

Interview of the Month, Croatian Embassy in Washington (May 2013)

Special Feature in Globus Magazine (May 2013)

Featured on Croatian TV show, More (2012) - watch the report here

Interviews in Slobodna Dalmacija, Dalmacijanews, Radio Split

I am available for writing services. Please contact me on info@total-munich.com or visit my main writing website, www.bossandblogger.com 

Website: total-hvar.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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