Pedagogical Concept

The fundamental idea behind our Gemeinschaftsschule is that all students learn together, from the beginning of their school time until graduation. Each child then receives a school leaving qualification corresponding to their individual abilities. As a result, all Platanus children have the opportunity to stay here with us until the end of their school life. They are also given the individual freedom to not decide upon any particular educational qualification too early or too late in their school life or when it comes to making decisions about going their separate ways.

The goal of our Gemeinschaftsschule is to create equal opportunities for all children irrespective of their individual learning needs and family backgrounds through creating individual learning opportunities. Our Gemeinschaftsschule offers a particularly varied and differentiated learning environment with cross-curricular teaching and learning, in which each and every student is supported and challenged based on their individual abilities.

Sekundarschülerinnen auf dem Schulhof

We offer a modern and comprehensive pedagogical concept based on scientifically proven and practice based learning and teaching methods, free from pedagogical or denominational dogmas. We foster an open school culture with internal and external evaluation of the quality of teaching, learning and our Co-Curricular Enrichment Program.

Our Gemeinschaftsschule is open to the children all day from 6:00 to 18:00. Our school life is made up of lessons, Co-Curricular Enrichment time, class counsil, study time, project days, consultations, breaks, eating meals together, clubs, early and late care supervision, holiday programs, school and class celebrations, class trips, sporting activities, competitions, freeplay in the schoolyard and in the early/late care room, relaxing in comfortable quiet zones, reading and browsing in the reading corner and in our school library internal workshops offered during lunch time as well as excursions and trips in and around Berlin.

The professional and trustful working relationship between our Erzieher*innen and teachers is reflected in the whole organisation of our school: in our organization chart, in the committees, in Team-Teaching and Support-Teaching, in the staff rooms, as well as in all of the work put in together on our School-Internal Curriculum. Teachers and Erzieher*innen shape our school life and work together in class conferences, evaluating the work-performance and social behaviour of each child, parent evenings, parent-teacher meetings, individual meetings with parents, project days, class trips and substitution.

At Platanus Schule Berlin, we believe that the actions of our educators has the biggest influence on the success of our students. The key to this success is not only the personality of the respective educational specialist, but also the concrete actions (e.g. didactic, methodical, educational) and their effect on the students and their individual educational achievements. Our educators do not see their main task as ‘delivering’ the fixed content of an abstract curriculum in the classroom or in the Co-Curricular Enrichment Program, but to enable all students, through various forms of mutual feedback, to achieve successful individual learning outcomes.

Both the student centred teaching and the Co-Curricular Enrichment Program at our school are competence oriented. This means that we do not merely impart new knowledge and procedures (surface structure), but rather develop a sustainable way of understanding newly acquired knowledge and connections with previously learned understanding, procedures, models, theories and world views (deep structures). During planning, our educators anticipate different learning styles, possible learning difficulties and identify helpful learning strategies. In concrete terms, this means that we design our students activating lessons and the Co-Curricular Enrichment Program in a goal oriented way using internal differentiation, Team-Teaching, Support-Teaching, support and challenge in small groups, cross-curricular project work, group and partner and project work, discussions, presentations, learning method training, IT and media competence training, the use of easy readers when learning how to read, word work, various forms of dictation but also through classic frontal teaching during instructional phases and compulsary readings.

School is the place where students spend the majority of their young lives. They not only learn here, but develop their personalities through play with their fellow students, teachers and Erzieher*innen. We support and guide this development in lessons and the Co-Curricular Enrichment Program and are aware of the great responsibility our task involves.

As the central starting point of our educational work, we see the natural characteristics of children and adolescents and endeavour to help them to view the things of life openly and with curiosity and to feel the joy of discovery and understanding. We would like to keep, produce and foster these qualities in our secure school environment as best we can. Our teachers, Erzieher*innen, students and parents pursue this goal together as best they can in order to develop the individual abilities of each child through motivational learning. We therefore place great value on all of our students feeling a sense of achievement.

  • Team-Teaching or Support-Teaching
  • German as a Second Language (DaZ) for English-speaking students who still need support to improve their German – possible parallel to German lessons, before and after class or during study hours.
  • English as an Additional Language (EAL) for German speaking students with integrated support in English, subject teaching and in additional courses.
  • A wide range of teaching and learning resources, learning tools, differentiated activities in lessons and differentiated homework
  • Study time in primary school
  • Consultation in secondary school
  • A focus on individual and self-organised learning under the supervision of our teachers and Erzieher*innen through project days, our Work & Travel program and through Co-Curricular Enrichment activities.
  • Individual support lessons in the core subjects mathematics, German and English, if necessary, geared to learning needs
  • Learning therapy for students with special learning needs, such as dyslexia or dyscalculia.

During Team-Teaching, two pedagogues have the responsibility for the lessons and are present in the classroom together. During Support-Teaching, one teacher is solely responsible for the lesson, while the other teacher or Erzieher*in supports individual students.

  • Team-Teaching or Support-Teaching provides the opportunity to split the class into two groups or between two rooms if necessary.
  • Team-Teaching or Support Teaching allows differentiated lessons with opportunities for supporting and challenging all students e.g. German as a second language (DaZ), English as an Additional Language (EAL) for , students with reading and writing difficulties (LRS), problems with calculation (Dyscalculia), special support needs and special talents.
  • Through Team-Teaching and Support-Teaching, the individual learning needs of the students can be integrated into regular lessons.
  • Team-Teaching and Support-Teaching simplifies the diversity of teaching methods and the use of free teaching forms, and makes it easy to carry out projects and go on excursions.
  • It allows for a variety of perspectives: the preparation and practising of content is accompanied by encouraging and developing the competencies and working techniques.

Team-Teaching and Support-Teaching is utilised in the following subjects:

  • German (approx. 4 hours with subject teachers)
  • English (approx. 3-4 hours with subject teachers)
  • Mathematics (approx. 2-4 hours with subject teachers or class Erzieher*in in Years 1 to 4)
  • Social Science, Years 1 to 4 (the majority of lessons with class Erzieher*in)
  • Science, Years 5 and 6 (the majority of lessons with subject teacher or class Erzieher*in
  • Music, Years 1 to 10 (most of the lessons with class Erzieher*in in Year 1 to 4 or subject teacher)
  • Art, Years 1 to 6 (the majority of lessons with class Erzieher*in)
  • Sport, Years 1 to 6 (the majority of lessons with class Erzieher*in)

Through team teaching and support teaching, we allow for more individual attention, tailored instruction, and thus better learning outcomes for all students.

In our organisation and design of homework, we underline our focus on individual learning while taking our role as a Ganztagschule (full-day school) into consideration at the same time.

Our goal is to help the students organise their own learning process, as well as provide them with a variety of opportunities to deal with educational content. The type, scope and checking of homework vary according to grade, subject, theme, and the individual abilities and needs of the students. Homework is only given in very small amounts in Years 1 and 2, often in the form of small exercises for reading, writing and calculating. The older the students, the more complex the homework. Homework can give students the opportunity to further prepare for lessons and can be in oral or written form.

Homework in Years 1 to 6 is essentially done during study times. Every Tuesday and Friday afternoon, we also offer a Homework Room for all students in Years 3 to 10 with a quiet workplace where they can do their homework. Also a teacher is always present and supports as needed. This is a voluntary offer. The children and teenagers can decide for themselves whether they want to do their homework at school or at home. The checking of homework in the classroom is carried out in various ways, for example, through conversation, a small presentation of results, or through a partner or teacher check.


The students enter their homework and the dates for exams and tests independently into their homework books. At home, parents can best support their children by speaking and reading with them in their mother tongue, and by practising writing and calculating regularly. In the higher Years, students need the time and space to study and work independently at home.

Generally, there are no cancelled lessons at our school. With our team of teachers and Erzieher*innen and our standby service, we are able to react quickly and easily in the case of illness.