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A day at the Spa for my friend the bug - testimonial from the FÖJ in our Kindergarden

The peppermint is completely foul. Like tentacles, it has spread its strongly scented shoots in all directions on the small flower bed. After three weeks of holiday, Sophie Buhle now has a lot of work to do. Look at her standing in the middle of the sprouting herb that is proliferating at the back of the Christian day care and family education centre Baumhaus in Radeberg. With a pair of pruning shears in her hand, she seems to be planning something sinister against the vegetation. Snip. "The leaves are dried for tea," she says in passing. The 18-year-old completed her voluntary ecological year (Freiwilliges Ökologisches Jahr, FÖJ) at the day-care centre. It was over by the end of August. Actually, she had already decided to train as a carpenter about a year ago. "But all they had there were machines. That wasn't my cup of tea," she says. The FÖJ was also supposed to help her become aware of her dream job. She got in touch with the Baumhaus day-care centre through the Grüne Liga Sachsen association. She dropped in for a trial period and was able to start the same week.
It's not just the peppermint she's been keeping an eye on ever since. Sophie Buhle weeds, picks strawberries or digs in the potato bed. When the weather is bad, there is just as much to do inside: Dusting, sharpening pencils, gluing torn books, preparing the fruit meal. And, of course, playing with the children. "In the beginning, they all looked the same to me," she says, laughing. "After two months, however, I already knew all 85 by name."
Her passion project, however, is in the garden. She built an insect hotel there. Part of it was already there when she started her FÖJ. Now fire beetles crawl through the holes in the bricks and woodlice look for a quiet spot between the pine cones. Two chambers are still vacant. The short-cut reed stalks have to be piled up there. Then the luxurious home for creepy-crawlies is ready. "It's great for the children because they can observe the insects well."
She will miss the children, but for Sophie Buhle the year at the nursery has brought an essential breakthrough: She would rather not become a nursery school teacher. It's probably going to be something in the trades. "I'd be interested in becoming a saddler," she says.

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