In September the new Health and Education Center (GEBIZ) at Groz-Beckert opened its doors. With this new center, which covers 5,600 square meters and cost 17.5 million Euros to build, the company is sending a clear message: A commitment to education and health is not just the job of the state, it is everyone's responsibility. In its "Kita Malesfelsen" day nursery and its "Grundschule Malesfelsen" elementary school, therefore, the GEBIZ offers all-day care and education for kids aged from 0 to 10 according to socially adjusted costs. The newly-constructed complex of buildings at the Groz-Beckert headquarters in Albstadt also contains the "BKK Groz-Beckert" health insurance fund and the "Vitalzentrum Malesfelsen", which offers fitness and prevention programs. The building also houses a company physician, company medics and a physiotherapy center.
The project, launched in 2010, has caused a real stir in Albstadt – after all, it is the only one of its kind far and wide in which a company has become involved to such an extent in social issues such as childcare, education and health. It took just eighteen months to build this complex, which is specially designed to meet all the requirements of the facilities inside.
Groz-Beckert has brought several experienced partners on board to operate the different facilities. The daycare center and the elementary school are being run by the Klett Group, which has excellent educational qualifications. The Malesfelsen health center is also operated by highly experienced experts, as is the accompanying physiotherapy center.
In future, the daycare center will be the first stop in life for even the tiniest infant. Kids can be looked after here all day from the first year of their lives onward – naturally with loving and expert supervision from specially trained helpers and carers. Early encouragement of full potential is just as much a part of infants' development as independent exploration of the world around them so in addition to rooms specially designed for kids the center also features a large outside playground area, shared by the children from both the daycare center and the elementary school. On workdays from 6.50 am to 6 pm, places are available for a total of 40 children aged 0 to 3 years and for 30 children aged 3 to 6.
Over the coming years, transition from the daycare center to the Malesfelsen elementary school will be smooth. Since they all share the same areas of the GEBIZ, the kids are already familiar with the most important rooms and therefore feel right at home at the start of their 'school career'. The Malesfelsen elementary school has a total of 80 places for the four school years, and is run on behalf of Groz-Beckert by a renowned education specialist, the Klett Group. It is one of the leading education specialists in Germany, and Groz-Beckert was fortunate enough to gain its services for this responsible task. The Malesfelsen elementary school took in children from Classes 1 and 2 when it opened in September, and will continue to grow as the further school years follow.
Demand has been remarkably high from the very start. Class 1, with 20 kids, filled up very quickly indeed, and further children are on a waiting list. Six children have already been registered for Class 2. Some of the subjects will be taught in year-overlapping lessons so that the 'premiere children' of different ages have a shared basis for the following years at the elementary school, with its special pedagogical concept.
The aim is to give every child an excellent education by promoting and encouraging their full potential, to enable an ideal transition to further education later on. Based on this, the main focus of the teaching is a solid grounding in the basics of German, Math and English plus topic-oriented learning in the fields of Natural Sciences and technology.
A further focus is on music, which brings life to the school via numerous options such as singing in the choir, playing the recorder, moving and dancing. Native speakers teach the kids English in a playful manner, using everyday situations. The diverse learning atmosphere is further enhanced by teaching locations outside the school, such as the Natural Science-Technology Base (NTS) in Albstadt, the company's own sports center, regular visits to the swimming pool, and forest-walk days.
The entire education section is generously designed to allow space for topic-related projects as well as activities for all ages. In the daycare center, for instance, the kids can do handicraft in their own special workroom, carry out experiments in the research room, cook and bake in the kids' kitchen, play in the exercise room, or engage in creative activities in the art studio. The larger outside area enables the children to be creative: they can play in the herb garden, the water play area or the sandpit, thereby rounding off a diverse and highly attractive full-day care service.
The GEBIZ not only prepares kids for later professional life, it also accompanies employees through a fulfilling career all the way to retirement at age 67. For instance, the new building complex also houses the BKK Groz-Beckert health insurance fund for the company's employees and their families. Groz-Beckert employees will also have access very soon to a company physician and to medics in the GEBIZ: the new building offers ideal conditions for examination, treatment and care.
Further core tasks of the GEBIZ include the promotion of health as well as reintegration into the professional world following illness. Health therapy and prevention is provided by the Vitalzentrum Malesfelsen health center, which is also due to open in the GEBIZ in early October. It has its own training area, sauna, infrared cabin and rest area, and training and recreation are available here under expert supervision. In the adjoining public-access physiotherapy center – approved by health insurers – the qualified staff offer expert support to those regaining their health.
The structure and operation of the GEBIZ is therefore far more than just an extension to what the state already offers. For Groz-Beckert, this Health and Education Center is a specific commitment at its Group headquarters, representing both a declaration in favor of the location and an assumption of corporate social responsibility. With the GEBIZ, Groz-Beckert is making its own contribution toward the well-being of the community, and to existing as well as future generations.