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12/02/19

From laboratory bench to changing table - MPI für Kohlenforschung converts former laboratory building from the 1950s into a modern children's day nest - Kofo Zwerge offers nine places for the very little ones

From laboratory bench to changing table - MPI für Kohlenforschung converts former laboratory building from the 1950s into a modern children's day nest - Kofo Zwerge offers nine places for the very little ones

The reconciliation of family and career is a challenge for young scientists who come to the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim from home and abroad. How can they complete their doctorate and move with their family to Mülheim an der Ruhr if a KITA place is not available at short notice? The offers of the public institutions are limited and very early applications - usually shortly after birth - are necessary. However, scientific career paths are often shorter. The staff of the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung therefore requested a day care nest in order to cover this need for the care of the very youngest in the immediate vicinity of the institute. The management took up this challenge and after a long period of planning and several months of reconstruction, the "Kofo-Zwerge" opened their doors in a property belonging to the Institute on the Höhenweg.

"The building on the Höhenweg dates back to the 1950s and was used as a microanalytical laboratory for many years," explains Dirk Konermann, Head of Facility Management. Together with the Mülheim architects Mallon, a concept was developed for the conversion of the laboratory into a day care nest.

The partner Kind & Co., operator of several day care nests in Mülheim, was also involved in the development and contributed its expertise for the care of children between 0 and 4 years of age. Sigrid Lutz, the Institute's Equal Opportunities Officer, also sat at the table, knowing the needs of the employees and working to find solutions promptly. "We needed an attractive, bright play area with plenty of room for movement but also a quiet corner for quieter games and handicrafts," explains Lutz. "The meals should also be taken here together, and a rest room and a child-friendly laundry and toilet room were also needed," she says.

A large number of legal requirements from the Child Education Act (KiBiz) had to be observed in the planning. This was a challenging task for a scientific institute whose building management usually plans premises for laboratories or workshops. "The effort has always paid off and we are very happy to be able to offer the employees of MPI für Kohlenforschung an important building block for the compatibility of work and family life," says the Equal Opportunities Officer.

Since November 1st, the nursing nest has been open and the Kind & Co. employees are busy getting the little ones used to their new everyday life. As you can see, the friendly rooms and the new toys are well received by the children.