In a non-participant observational field study of three kinds of kindergartens ip Konstanz (BRD) and four in Haifa (Israel), we compared how rules established by legislation and rules that teachers hold necessary, interact to shape kindergarten environments. Structured observations and sound recordings of complete kindergarten sessions were analysed. It was found that each activity has a sound envelope defined by the kindergarten's location and layout, by the allocations of time, and by the ways in which teachers' and children's movements are distributed in space. Despite common historical sources, kindergartens in Germany and Israel constitute surroundings that impact children very differently.