KITA Lessons for American Preschool Programs

childrens sized boots hung up in a classroom

10-12 participants will join Deborah Jane from the Institute for Global Studies and Ann Besser Professor Emeri from North Hennepin Community College, to delve into KITAs of Germany, with a focus on the preschool immigrant experience. The program is designed to teach participants about the educational foundations of early childhood education, the practical applications and best practices, but also about pitfalls and problems encountered by German initiatives, through site visits to German nursery schools and daycare centers. Moreover, the proposal aims at fostering professional relationships between the American participants and their German colleagues. From visiting  KITAs in Berlin, Brandenburg and Thuringia, participants will learn about the ways  each state runs their KITAs while having time with colleagues to experience local cultural sites. Through this intensive study tour participants will continue on their journeys to better  Minnesota preschools, by  disseminating learned  information via conferences, in house presentations, and papers. Accepted applicants will have their airfare, in-country travel, travel insurance and lodging covered for this experience. Program participants will be responsible for meals and incidentals.

Program Dates

January 31, 2024  Applications due
February 7, 2024  Participants notified of acceptance.
February 15, 2024  Participants must accept or decline award
Pre trip meetings
February 24, 2024 10 am-12:30 pm  First meeting (hybrid -in person for those participants close to metro area with a virtual option for those in greater Minnesota)  REQUIRED
March 16, 2024 10 am-12:30pm  Second meeting (virtual) REQUIRED
April 6, 2024 10 am-12:30 pm Third meeting  (hybrid -in person for those participants close to metro area with a virtual option for those in greater Minnesota)  REQUIRED
May 18, 2024 Flight to Berlin Germany. Option to fly earlier with lodging at participant’s own expense. 
May 19, 2024 Hotel check in, welcome and Berlin cultural site visits
May 20--23, 2024  Berlin/Brandeburg KITA site visits 
May 23, 2024 travel to Erfurt in late afternoon
May 24, 2024  Erfurt Academic orientation
May 25-26, 2024 Cultural sites of Erfurt
May 27-28 KITA site visits Erfurt
May 29, 2024 Travel to Frankfurt
May 30, 2024 Fly back to Minnesota. Option to stay on at participant’s own expense.

To apply:
We are looking for students, administrators, educators, community leaders and practitioners to join this special opportunity investigating  preschool programs with high populations of immigrant children in Germany in order to impact our Minnesota preschool programs.  First time international travelers and those reflecting Minnesota’s increasingly diverse student population are encouraged to apply.

Accepted applicants will have their airfare, in-country travel, travel insurance and lodging covered for this experience.  Program participants will be responsible for meals and incidentals.

If you are interested in applying, you must submit BOTH parts of the application. 

Part 1 is this form 

Part 2: Please send a statement of purpose (250-500 words) of who you are and what you hope to accomplish by participating in this program.  Be sure to include pre trip learning, the international study tour and what you hope to learn, and what you are going to do with the information you have learned after completing the program.  Email your statement of purpose to Deborah Jane

Ann Besser is an experienced language educator with a broad background in language
instruction and program administration in both the United States and Europe. She has taught secondary and college students as well as adult language learners in basic education programs and large international organizations. For the past 20 years she taught EAP (English for Academic Purposes) to Twin Cities community college students from all over the world who were preparing to pursue academic degrees here in Minnesota. Ann holds a B.S. in German from Minnesota State University, Mankato and a Master’s in Applied Linguistics from Georgetown University. She lived, studied, and worked in Europe for over ten years and knows well from her own experience how impactful and enriching an overseas learning opportunity can be. She is very excited to be involved in this KITA project in Germany and looks forward to sharing this amazing opportunity with you!


Deborah Jane worked in the northern Minnesota K-12 schools for 15 years. With the success of  an Access to Information Literacy summer school project at Cass Lake-Bena Middle School, she was recruited to start and run a learning center at Leech Lake Tribal College. After Learning Center Director, Deborah became Dean of Instruction at LLTC and chaired the institutional self study for continuing accreditation in addition to supervising faculty and curriculum. Deborah has now been at the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Minnesota since January 2012 and has facilitated over 120 workshops and weeklong summer institutes for K-12 and community college educators the Institute for Global Studies Title VI National Resource Centers and has presented at more than 10 national conferences in addition to  numerous state and regional conferences.  She loves working with educators and trying to shift institutional barriers to create innovative environments for successful learning.