Playing in a Mercedes Benz

One of the basic aspects in life-derived learning is to allow children discover the real world, through play. Because children, when given the power to choose, always transfer their play into reality.

One of our pre-k classes developed a genuine interest on how cars work! They talked about cars, read about cars, saw movies, played with toys, even constructed fake cars in various forms .

Were these enough? Of course not! Children went on asking more & more things, so we had to give them the chance to see a place where a car is born…

Unfortunately, in Greece we do not have a single car making factory. However, we do have many car import and repair companies and Mercedes Benz Hellas proved so willing to let our children visit their premises, ask questions and even play in their cars!

Children came back in school full of enthusiasm. Because it is not what you learn in such a visit – it is how it makes you feel; and our pre-Ks returned in school feeling as great as any of us after having played in a Mercedes Benz!

Advertisements

We do not cook to learn, but we learn so much while cooking in toddlers’ class!

Cooking is one of kids most favorable activities in school. Apart from being a great life-derived play, cooking assists toddlers to get acquainted with a good number of skills.

Getting in touch with math, for example, in the age of 2.5 y.o is greatly achieved through cooking. Children start to understand what does it mean “two spoonful of sugar” or “4 eggs”.

Their fine motor skills also are greatly enhanced, as well as their decision making skills. “Which goes first, the oil or the cheese?” The purpose is not to give them answers, but encourage them to think for themselves.

As it always goes on play: we do not cook to learn, but we learn so much while cooking!

Transferring play into real life conditions

We do offer a DIY class in kindergarten, in order to introduce 6 y.o. children into creative thinking & problem solving attitude.

For example: by  constructing a hydraulic robotic arm from scratch, children transfer their play into real life conditions by engaging in the following. They:

  • Derive the plan
  • Measure the dimensions
  • Cut the wood
  • Trial and error to make the junctions work
  • Understand how the hydraulic pumps work
  • Team & coordinate to make the arm move in all three dimensions

While the above consist the most fascinating play, yet encourage children to develop numbers of skills and engage deeply into creative thinking and innovation.

But most of all it’s just freely selected & non-directed play. Adults do not direct or impose, only inspire and facilitate. It’s not by coincidence that, when such a project is over,  children rarely play with the outcome. They have enjoyed most playing during the construction!

On a free will basis

In a truly play-based environment, every single item can be transformed into a hat, a shoe, a wheel or a stool. That is why our spaces often look like junkyards!

Children should feel completely free to engage into play with anything that exists around, no matter what it may be; so they imagine, innovate, combine, cooperate and develop independent thinking, on a free will basis.

Have you ever seen Santa?

The real one!

Well, we have a plan. We are going to catch him. Here’s how:

We made cookies for Santa. We wrapped them in cellophane so when he tries to eat them he’ll make a lot of noise.

We scattered carrots. if they disappear, it means reindeer have been here!

Wrote Santa riddles we know he likes: “It’s yellow and black . it goes bzzzzzzzz…. What is it?”

We decorated our Christmas tree….

…with handmade ornaments

We wrote a thank you note and filled it with glitter,

so when Santa opens it, glitter will sprinkle all over him and leave a trail!

And now all we have to do is wait for him to come. Good luck to us…….!

(by Claire Hadjinikolaou, our English language teacher)

International Fairy Tea Party Day 2017

On International Fairy Tea Party Day we went on a hunt for fairies and found all the evidence we need to prove that fairies do exist!

After reading a story about a naughty fairy, we looked for fairy signs.

Flowers where fairies like to sleep.

Acorns they like to eat

Fairy rings

And wands they use to turn anyone in anything they want.

After spending the whole day tracking them we decided to dance in a circle to call for them.

They didn’t appear but they left a surprise for us instead. They filled the place with colors!

And sprinkled fairy dust all around

They even gave us wings to fly

They also left a book for us to read.

After reading it we act out the story and threw a fairy tea party in their honor.

What better way to celebrate the wonderful world of nature all around us?

While sparking their imagination, children exercised their tracking skills and learned how to spot the tell-tale signs of fairies.

(by Claire Hadjinikolaou, our English language teacher)