KIWI is a traditional Viennese kindergarten and after-school care association, whose history goes back to the immediate post-war period. Founded in 1948, KIWI celebrates its 70th anniversary in 2018. Under the management of Mag a. Gudrun Kern, educational manager, and Thomas-Peter Gerold-Siegl, MBA, economic manager, KIWI currently cares for more than 7,700 children in 92 locations. 

In the following, we would like to review the history of our organisation and trace its development to one of the largest private kindergarten and after-school care associations in Vienna.


Established in 1948

The history of KIWI leads back to one of the darkest eras of modern times: Vienna was badly affected by the war, many people were homeless and physically and psychologically scarred by the war. It was a hard time for the people and especially the children in Vienna at that time and so the Vienna Children's Rescue Organisation was founded in 1948 to "save" the needy and hungry children. It was founded by Hans Martinek together with Alexander Lichal, Wolfgang Weigel and with the participation of Illa Joham and emerged from the Austrian children's rescue organisation - Land Association of Vienna founded by Josef Domany. The still young association was also supported by the then Federal Chancellor Leopold Figl.


The 60s

The social and economic changes of the 1960s brought about some organisational and educational changes for the Vienna Children's Rescue Service. The first steps towards further training for employees were taken, the first approaches to public relations were initiated and the equipment in the kindergartens and after-school care centres were improved. 


From “Children´s Rescue Service” to “Children in Vienna” - Monika Franta's management

The second hour of birth of the association took place in 1985, when the Children´s Rescue Service was renamed “Children in Vienna” (Kinder in Wien - KIWI for short). The windmill was chosen as the trademark of the association. Under Monika Franta's management, the educational partnership was strengthened and the qualitative development of the pedagogical offers was further enhanced. The era from 1988 to 2008 brought a whole series of innovations for KIWI. In 1988 the first pedagogical consultant was hired and in 1993, the first model for the pedagogical and social self-image of KIWI was established. 


Management of Ingrid Fröhlich and Monika Riha

In 1994, Ingrid Fröhlich took over the management of KIWI. From 1994 to 2014, she shared responsibility with Monika Riha. Ingrid Fröhlich managed the economic area, Monika Riha the educational one. The dual management was characterised by a quantitative and qualitative further development of the association. In the 20 years of shared responsibility, the number of KIWI locations grew from 12 to 71, the number of employees from 108 to just over 1,000 and the number of children cared for from 700 to 5,400.


Management by Thomas-Peter Gerold-Siegl, MBA and Monika Riha

After Ingrid Fröhlich retired, Thomas-Peter Gerold-Siegl, MBA, took over the position of economic director in January 2015 alongside Monika Riha as educational director. During this period, the number of KIWI locations grew from 71 to 91, the number of employees from around 1,100 to 1,580 and the number of children cared for from 5,400 to 7,700. 


Management by Thomas-Peter Gerold-Siegl, MBA and Maga. Gudrun Kern

On August 1, 2019, Mag a. Gudrun Kern took over the management - educational management from Monika Riha. 


Model project "Age-extended groups"

In 1997, KIWI took on a pioneering role with the model project “Age-extended groups” by introducing the joint education and care of children aged between one and six years. 


Quality pedagogy

The core of KIWI was and is the quality development and assurance. The quality manuals (QHBs) play a central role here: In the early 2000s, around 300 KIWI employees were involved in the development of three QHBs for age-extended groups and for kindergarten and after-school care centres, including an evaluation system. In the years 2014 to 2017, the QHBs were revised and finally presented in November 2017. 

An important step in the quality campaign of those years was the development of the overall concept. This "business card" describes KIWI's educational mission and provides a comprehensive picture of our educational work in our kindergartens and after-school care centres. 


Growth, quality development and social commitment 

The last decade in KIWI's history has also been characterised by quantitative growth, qualitative further development and uninterrupted social commitment. In 2012, KIWI organised a large congress on the subject of "Valuable.Children - Valuable.Future", in which the question of values was investigated with Austrian and international experts. In the course of this congress, 14 values were selected by parents and employees, which are now posted as KIWI values at every location and describe the cooperation at KIWI.
In the 2010s, the Expert advisory board was reorganised and expanded. It now consists of one educational consultant per region, three bilingual consultants and five child psychology consultants. An external specialist consultant and a quality developer as well as a development diagnostician round off the profile of Expert advisory board. 

The BABE+ course 

One project that clearly represents KIWI's social commitment to quality development within elementary education is the BABE+ (Bachelor of Arts: Education +) degree programme organised jointly with Koblenz University of Applied Sciences in 2014. This first undergraduate academic course in elementary education was and is an important contribution to further improving the quality of elementary education. Due to the great success of the first round, BABE+ went into the second round in September 2017. In the spring of 2018, the graduates of the first cohort celebrated their graduation and have since reinforced the team of teachers in KIWI kindergartens ever since. 

International cooperation

At KIWI, the past decade has also been heavily influenced by intensive international cooperation, such as with the Fröbel Foundation in Germany or through projects in Denmark and Finland. KIWI is also in dialogue with China.

KIWI today

Finally, 2023 dawned... and KIWI celebrated its 75th birthday. The three regions have now become six, each of which is looked after by a regional manager and a supra-regional economic region manager. KIWI educates and supports more than 8,000 children in 92 locations. An association that was supposed to ensure the survival of children in post-war Vienna became one of the largest private kindergartens and after-school care centres in Vienna. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all people - managers, pedagogues, supervisors, expert advisors, employees of the office and the staff departments - for their work at KIWI.