How everything began…

I already became acutely aware of the importance of a knowledge of a foreign language at the end of the war. This allowed me to explain to an American soldier the nightly occurrences in our house and as a result he came to sleep on the staircase every evening and the plunderers ceased to visit. I also worked for the British troops as an interpreter and even at that time I was determined that: “If I have children, they should learn foreign languages in their infancy.”

Subsequently, I went to the America House, where I assumed responsibility for the children’s library and headed English courses for infants. In addition, I started working with children aged under six from my private circle of friends using a large number of play ideas. Then, when the America House stopped its work with children, my idea turned into reality and I started to build up my English Playschool. I received a great deal of help from the America House, which left me all its English teaching material. I began with seven children belonging to friends and acquaintances and after a year, already had twenty charges. This marked the start of an extremely pleasant process, which we were able to realise in a team possessed of a great deal of idealism and methodological expertise. My special thanks are also due to the parents, who through their understanding support and loyalty repeatedly gave me fresh courage to carry on.

Dr. Susanne Schönfelder

Dr. Susanne Schönfelder

  • Foundation of the English Playschool in the extremely spacious apartment at Spittelwiese 15

  • 7 children

Dir. Sunhild Huber-Schönfelder

  • The founder’s daughter, Sunhild Huber-Schönfelder, takes over the Playschool.

Life has a formative influence…

I’ve experienced the English Playschool as a child, as a pupil and as a teacher. In 1953, I was born into a family where English was naturally spoken. As far as I remember, English-speaking people were around me. From an early age, my heart belonged to the Playschool. I grew up in kindergarten. Everything around me took place naturally. I loved spending the mornings in kindergarten. It was clear to me that I would continue my mother’s successful concept. Mainly the Montessori pedagogy, but also other methods, were embedded in our Playschool system with a lot of love. Gradually my mother and subsequently I, developed our methods of Playschool.

After 45 years, I’m very happy to hand over my life’s work to my successor Sandra Ivanschütz and I wish her that she will continue the English Playschool with lots of love, strength, energy and idealism.

Dir. Sunhild Huber-Schönfelder
English teacher, kindergarten teacher and Certified Montessori teacher

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Playschool Timeline

1953

Foundation of the English Play School…

Founded by Dr. Susanne Schönfelder in a very large, flat Spittelwiese 15, the playschool was open between 8:00-12:00 for 7 children. (Native speaker: Sheila Fielding)

1955

Structure Becomes Visible

Structure Becomes Visible

With 22 children, the structure of the English Playschool became visible: Circle Games, Lesson, Lunch, Gym lesson, Handicraft, Story. The foundation of the English Playschool lies in recognizing that children are capable of learning another language and are able to internalize it as a native language. It is oriented to American, British and the New Zealand system, since the native speakers come from these countries. The basic requirement is that educators with excellent English language skills or native speakers work and play with the children. The English language is integrated in the activites throughout the day.

1956

Conversation Club in the Afternoon

For students up to 14 years (once a week for 2 hours).
In the following years, the playschool developed further with a constant increase in the number of children. More and more parents recognize the importance of learning a second language in a playful way.

1958

Fairy Tale Film

Dr. Walter Schönfelder films the fairy tale “Rumpelstiltskin” a sensation with all children of the English Playschool at this time. The completion lasted almost a year. In the setting, all the children speak English. The present principal, Sunhild Huber-Schönfelder, plays “Rumpelstiltskin” at the age of five.

1974

New Leadership

New Leadership

The founder’s daughter, Sunhild Huber-Schönfelder, takes over the English Playschool.

1975

New Ideas

New Ideas

The Playschool is now open until 13.00. The successful concept is supplemented by new ideas. The use of technical aids such as video, tape, CD are implemented. The Montessori pedagogy flows increasingly. The independent playschool pedagogy is developed. Swim and skiing afternoons conducted by Raimund Huber as a PE teacher, expand the program.

1978

Eminent Visitor

Eminent Visitor

Visit of Bishop Dr. Alois Wagner

1979

30th Anniversary

30th Anniversary

Presentation of our first record “Musical Circle Games”, which is still used today in kindergartens and schools.

1983

Renting a Garden

… in Steingasse

1987

Rebuilding and Major Renovation

1990

Foundation of a 4th Group in the Afternoon

“AfternoonTeamGroup”

1994

Renting and Remodeling

Renting and Remodeling

… the gymnasium on the first floor

1998

20th Christmas caroling

…  in Bischofshof

1999

Songs and Rhymes “English Songs and Rhymes Volume 1”

Songs and Rhymes “English Songs and Rhymes Volume 1”

Songs and rhymes help develop the correct pronunciation and the practice of intonation. Music promotes the direct and informal use of the foreign language.

2001

Second CD

Second CD

“English Songs and Rhymes Volume 2”.
There are independent learning methods.

2002

Learning with Computers

Computers are accessible to 5-6 year old children and are used to teach the English language in a playful way.

2003

50th Anniversary

50th Anniversary

Christmas CD (“Christmas Greetings” from Christmas carol singing in Bischofshof)

2009

Expansion

Expansion

… 110m² and opening of the 5th group “Morning Team Group” on the 16th March

2013

60th Anniversary

60th Anniversary
2017

Live Performance at Radio Ö3

Live Performance at Radio Ö3

Performance at the Ö3 Weinachtswunder programme.
Playschool Christmas caroling at the Arkade and the Alten Markt

2018

65th Anniversary

“Handover” party. Sandra Ivanschütz takes over the English Playschool.