Ten years ago, the Ostheimer Foundation and Mr Piechotta from STOCKMAR came to us at the same time, asking us to get to the bottom of how the effects of products from Ostheimer and STOCKMAR could be researched in more depth and defined, and how awareness of this could be raised. Becoming aware of and able to speak about qualities and effects was the central concern. [Fade-in: Sibylle Engstrom, managing director of Ostheimer Spielzeug since 2015]
Back then, we looked into this topic as part of a perception study spanning several years and funded by the Alfred Rexroth Foundation and the Ostheimer Foundation. However, the two companies are still preoccupied with the insights gained from the study and the questions regarding the various effects of our products to this day. We are always comparing notes and examining questions arising from this context together.
Sales arguments such as ‘educationally valuable’, ‘premium’ and ‘high quality’ are almost overused these days. But how do parents, teachers and manufacturers make a meaningful judgement on what is beneficial to the children they are responsible for? In one study, we focused on the questions regarding the intensive encounter with the product. Our approach to this is that authentic awareness raising can only take place through one’s own experiences and differentiated perception.
Who or what am I being confronted with? Which (after-)effects does it have? Which images does it create in my mind?
The products created by Ostheimer touch the soul. They convey a sense for the essence of being and the dignity of various animals and human figures. They create orientation. A sense of purpose. They facilitate respectful experiences. Children and their play are taken very seriously. After all, play creates images in the mind and role play leads to feelings of (self-) worth and empathy, which are important aspects with respect to salutogenesis and resilience.
This also applies to how we experience colours. STOCKMAR colours want to leave a lasting impression on your senses, at both a physical and mental level. It makes a difference whether I can immerse myself in the very essence of the colour or remain on the surface. It makes a difference whether in doing so an experience of self-efficacy sets in because I can create an unlimited array of new colours myself.
Conclusion: An encounter takes place via the product: an encounter with myself and with the world. It is essential to trace this encounter and to take it seriously. After all, everything has a much more deeply formative effect on children than on adults.
The study was commissioned and funded by the Alfred Rexroth Foundation and the Walter and Adeline Ostheimer Foundation. It was carried out by Sibylle Engstrom and Clemens Jung.