Children have thousands of questions that may sound straightforward enough but can sometimes prove very tricky to answer. That’s why the Goethe-Institut created the Digital Kinderuniversity ("Kinderuni"), a free online platform that is open to all children – no matter where they live or which school they attend. The German digital Kinderuniversity was launched in the USA in 2019. It provides information and education for children aged eight to twelve. It gives young scientists the chance to find out the answers to questions for themselves – about natural phenomena, for instance – while at the same time learning their first words in German. This fun online learning environment reflects the basic structure of a university: the faculties on offer, namely “Humankind”, “Nature”, and “Technology”, as well as the carefully selected video sequences, reflect the world as experienced by young students.
There are different ways to study at the Kinderuni:
in English: Each of the 30 lectures explains a different different scientific topic in English while teaching a few German words in a fun and playful way.
in German: Students can watch the entire lecture in German and learn new, more complex German words in each video.
in other languages: there are 6 additional languages currently available. Spanish and French will be added soon.
Subtitles are available in German and English to help understanding. Successfully completing lectures advances the students' Kinderuni career - from Student to Bachelor to Master, Doctorate, Junior Professor... and eventually to Professor! Further information can be found on the page "About the Kinderuni" page.
What exactly is the difference between learning at school and learning at university? To what extent are children able to absorb knowledge differently – in a way that involves laughter, joy, and experimentation? Thanks to his TV show “Sendung mit der Maus”, Christoph Biemann has decades of experience in this area: “Children are by nature inquisitive and have a huge thirst for knowledge. If you approach them in the right way, it is very easy to get them lastingly enthusiastic about things. The Kinderuniversity is an ideal tool for this because it combines fun and voluntary learning with natural childhood curiosity.”