Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

Sondersammlung Archiv für Kindertexte

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Children's Text Archive

The theory that children’s texts are not just childish attempts of writing or ways of practicing how to write, but rather an insight to their everyday life and emotions, is already an accepted fact. Each word or sentence written by a child is a result of personal testimonies and a new perspective, reading them we enter different areas of a child's life and actions. With this consciousness and appreciation we established our Children's Text Archive.

Since autumn 2000 the Children's text archive is located in the Department for School Education and Primary School Teaching at Martin Luther University Halle/Wittenberg under supervision of Prof. Dr. Eva Maria Kohl.

The archive is a unique blend of its kind and is now home to about 80 000 articles out of the last one hundred years and all texts are written by children all around the world (30 countries).

Children of different backgrounds express themselves in fairy tales, poems, stories and essays, which allows the readers an insight into their childhood. All of them are result of free, creative writing as part of educational research or international UNESCO projects.

Concept of our archive

1. Collection and preservation

Since its establishment, the Archive's main role is to collect and preserve as much texts as possible.

2. Assessment of child's writing

Consciousness and appreciation of texts combined with specific value of writing process as a

language of creative activities.

3. Categorization

Children's texts are not a homogeneous genre, but complex and diverse one. In order to access each text easier we created carefully structured text categories;Children’s stories of everyday life in the reform school

  • Children’s stories of everyday life in the reform school
  • Jewish children and their experiences in the concentration camp
  • Childhood in East and West Germany
  • Childhood around the globe
  • Children on the run (refugees)

4. Children texts as research study

Children's texts are authentic self-expressions and childlike perspectives. The complexity of the texts contributed to a large number of suitable materials for educational research.

Therefore our inventory also offers access to important publications necessary for educational research, childhood education and especially for process of writing. Most of the publications are written by Eva Maria Kohl (Director of our Archive) in collaboration with Norbert Schulz, Michael Ritter and Alexandra Ritter (all members of our faculty team).

The main task of the Children’s texts archive and our research team is to understand childhood as a special research subject and scope of personal ideas and to make childhood education acceptable in the context of a multidisciplinary writing. The research center aims for the development and treatment of archival material as well as justifying significance of early education.

Publications

Kohl, Eva Maria / Ritter,  Michael (Hrsg.) (2011): Die Stimmen der Kinder. Kindertexte in  Forschungsperspektiven. – Baltmannsweiler

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