First discovery corner opened in Innviertel

FMV and Schalchen local authority have equipped Schalchen kindergarten with popular research lab.

Front row (from left to right): Amelie Kogler, Alexander Moser, Dominik Junghuber and Paul Wallner are already busy experimenting in the Schalchen kindergarten. Back row (from left to right): Helmut Sperl (2nd deputy mayor of Schalchen), Daniela Malata (member of the W&H Executive Board), Roswitha Kogler (head of the Schalchen kindergarten), Stefan Fuchs (mayor of Schalchen) and Roman Seitweger (managing director of FMV) Photos: Chris Hofer

Busily discovering and experimenting is a favourite activity of the children at the Schalchen kindergarten near Mattighofen (Upper Austria). The Innviertel’s first ever discovery corner was opened on 10 January 2017 with the support of FMV GmbH, a subsidiary of W&H, and Schalchen local authority. The aim of the popular research lab for kindergartens is to stimulate the natural curiosity of the very young and to enable them to experience our living environment with all their senses. While this successful concept was initially spread mainly across the province of Salzburg, now kindergartens in the adjacent province of Innviertel are also exploring the benefits of the discovery corner, which brings lots of fun and variety into the daily kindergarten routine. Roman Seitweger, managing director of FMV, says, “Those who become involved with technology at an early stage will find it much easier to get by in our high-tech world. The discovery corner provides children with a fantastic educational opportunity.”

The children of the Schalchen kindergarten, (from left to right) Amelie Kogler, Dominik Junghuber, Alexander Moser and Paul Wallner investigate the properties of yeast under the watchful eye of their kindergarten teacher Maria Zauner. A balloon placed over the neck of a bottle is slowly blown up by a mixture of yeast, sugar, flour and warm water.
A balloon placed over the neck of a bottle is slowly blown up by a mixture of yeast, sugar, flour and warm water.
It’s a fascinating experience for (from left to right) Dominik Junghuber, Alexander Moser, Amelie Kogler and Paul Wallner to observe the development and life cycle of a giant African snail, which is kept in a terrarium.
Development and life cycle of a giant African snail.

Equipped with a wide range of fascinating experiments, the new discovery corner is a source of great delight and excitement for the children in Schalchen. It was officially handed over recently by Roman Seitweger and Stefan Fuchs, mayor of Schalchen, whose sponsoring activities make a valuable contribution to encouraging young technical talent. Now the little scientists in the Schalchen kindergarten have lots of tantalising scientific problems to solve. What are the properties of yeast? How tall is a tree? How far away is a person? The children can investigate these and other questions in a variety of experiments that are explained step by step in a detailed manual written for the discovery corner.

Work in the research lab is conducted only with expert instruction from the kindergarten teachers. Roswitha Kogler, head of the Schalchen kindergarten, says, “We are very pleased with our new research laboratory. The discovery corner enables us to investigate exciting nature-based topics with the children, simply and through play. It’s lovely to see how enthusiastic and eager the children are to tackle the problems.” Stefan Fuchs says, “The discovery corner makes it possible to arouse enthusiasm for the natural sciences and technology even in children of preschool age. The new research lab is a valuable addition that extends the education offered in our kindergarten. I should like to thank Roman Seitweger and Peter Malata, managing director of W&H, as well as Dr. Konrad Steiner for their amazing support.”

Amelie Kogler gently handles the giant African snail and is obviously not afraid to touch it. Fellow pupil Paul Wallner finds the giant snail equally enthralling.
Enthralling giant African snail.
From left to right: Amelie Kogler, Paul Wallner and Alexander Moser are obviously having fun testing the effect of magnets.
Testing the effect of magnets.

Industry encourages young technical talent

FMV, the Upper Austrian subsidiary of W&H, teamed up with Schalchen local authority to make the new discovery corner possible. The company made a clear commitment to the site in the local community by opening a new building in Schalchen back in April 2016. Roman Seitweger is convinced about the advantages of the research concept for kindergartens. He says, “We need qualified employees so that, as specialists for mould construction and injection moulding, we can always offer the best solutions for domestic industry.

This is why it’s important to lay the foundations for young technical talent at an early stage. We want to provide the young researchers with opportunities to explore the phenomena of our living environment through play and to experience technology as something exciting.” For W&H Dentalwerk Bürmoos GmbH, as the overall sponsor of the discovery corner, it is very important to develop the research lab consistently and to ensure that it is rolled out continuously to other kindergartens. Daniela Malata, member of the W&H Executive Board, explains, “If, as an industrial company, we are looking for young technical talent, then we must do something about it ourselves and actively encourage this talent. In my opinion, the first discovery corner in the Innviertel marks an important starting point for increasing the use of this successful concept in Upper Austria.”