Concept of Theme-Centred Interaction (TCI)

Theme-centred interaction (TCI) is a pedagogical concept based on cooperation and exchange in groups, focusing on the interaction between members.

An educational concept for active participation and a positive learning climate

Theme-centred interaction (TCI) is a concept from group work that has proven its worth in the pedagogical work of KiTas. The main focus is on the active participation of all group members and the creation of a positive learning environment.

What is TCI?

The concept of theme-centred interaction was developed by Ruth Cohn in the 1940s. It is based on the assumption that people develop and flourish positively in groups especially when they are actively involved in shaping and working on issues that interest them and that they find meaningful and significant. TCI promotes communication and interaction within the group and helps to create a positive group climate.


Theme-centred interaction (TCI) was developed in the 1940s by the US psychologist Ruth C. Cohn. She was looking for a method that would make it possible to shape group processes and actively involve group members in the learning process. In TCI it is assumed that people learn and develop by being actively involved in what is happening and by being able to act in a self-determined way. For this reason, TCI focuses on the interaction between group members and attaches great importance to appreciative and constructive communication. The active involvement of participants in the group process is intended to create a positive learning climate that promotes open and constructive cooperation.

TCI comprises four pillars that serve as the basis for successful group work:

  1. Task- and goal-oriented work: The group sets common goals and tasks to be achieved in the course of the work.

  2. Social interaction: TCI emphasises the importance of a positive group climate and appreciative communication.

  3. Involvement of the group: Each group member should actively participate in the learning process and be able to contribute his or her skills and strengths.

  4. Work on the here and now: The group's work always takes place in the current situation and is based on the needs and interests of the group members.

TCI in the KiTa

In KiTas, the concept of theme-centred interaction is used to enable children to be actively involved in shaping learning content and processes. Here, the children's interests and needs are in the foreground. The children should be able to bring in their own interests and topics and work on them together with other children and the educational staff.

Positive effects of TCI in the KiTa

Through theme-centred interaction, children can develop important competencies, such as the ability to actively participate and help shape learning processes, the ability to communicate and interact in groups, as well as the ability to self-reflect and address their own issues and concerns. The children's group feeling and sense of belonging can also be strengthened through the application of TCI.