Mixing cultures

Hosting students or teachers from other countries, is a desirable situation in our kindergarten!

Early this year we had the luck to be joined by Shriya, an education student from India.

We love this process cause helps our children to understand the diversity of the world and to spot the differences between humans and civilizations.

As always foreign students do, Shriya presented us her country and her family. She told us about Indian civilization and Indian mythology, participated fully in school life  and played a lot of games with the kids.

The difference in language is always a bit of barrier, but kindergarten kids find a chance to exercise their English and become really enthusiast when manage to understand each other.

Of course, most of fun was the time of bollywood dancing!

So long for our next host. Shriya, thank you so much for being in school, we hope you had as good time in Dorothy Snot kindergarten as we had!

Spotlight on John Yiannoudis, Co-Founder, Owner and Director of Dorothy Snot Pre-School

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-8-57-59-pm You are speaking at IPSEF Design and Build, what helped you decide to participate?

Middle East is a fast growing area in all aspects and IPSEF brings together powerful school people. We are a well-established play-based pre-school, currently evaluating the potential for international expansion of our concept.
UAE is a region we are mostly interested, so I thought speaking in IPSEF would be a great opportunity to present our education philosophy education in a broad audience and meet interesting people that could be potentially turned into valued partners.

Why did you get involved in Education?

I‘m a business guy and have spent almost 20 years working in top financial management positions of Greek enterprises. Five years ago I decided to exclusively work on developing our family preschool into a world class education business, mainly for two reasons:

a) education is an industry adding so much value in a society. It’s so much more self-fulfilling to assist in raising strong children, than to merely achieve some financial objectives for a bunch of private business shareholders.

b) business-wise, I understand education as an industry lacks entrepreneurship. Most school owners and directors have strong education background but rather weak business sense and strive to innovate, which prevents them from achieving the most out of their efforts. I believe I can assist into transforming our unique and very successful free education model into a world class leader, maintaining at the same time its exceptional educational aspects.

What are you currently working on?

The last five years we strengthened the position of our Dorothy Snot pre-school in Greece and developed a strong and exceptionally working education philosophy.
Beginning Fall 2016 and for the next five years, our effort will be to transform our Life-derived Learning concept on play based education, into a top class model for pre-schools & kindergartens and manage to expand our international presence.

What project would you have liked to work on?

I would have loved having been actively involved somehow into redesigning the education system of my country, Greece. I believe we have been doing it all wrong for the last decades and I’m sure I could be of great help. Of course, that means to be involved in politics, which is not either a short or a long term goal for me!

Who is your inspiration?

Out of the several people I could mention, both from business and education world, I will stick to my good friend and mentor Tom Hobson, the famous “Teacher Tom” from Seattle. He has been a constant source of inspiration to me, both on his writings and sayings on how to respect the will and enforce the freedom of very young children, in early education. I just love him!

What is the greatest challenge within your role?

My greatest daily challenge is to make sure that our school keeps progressing and innovating, without leaving behind our main goal: making sure that children are the real owners of their school life!

What 1 thing would improve your working life?

Having more human resources with a deep understanding of our philosophy and vision and thus being able to undertake serious parts of my daily administrative and business developing role. But, I’m working on that!

What 3 things do you see as being the focus of Middle East education over the next five years?

1. The effort of developing an education philosophy of its own, in all levels. A more tailor-made approach to the special needs and challenges of this fast growing area, maintaining at the same time a high quality level of services.

2. To remain capable of integrating effectively the constantly growing numbers of young population, both expats and locals, without being affected by any geopolitical uncertainties.

3. The effort of moving towards more joyful and free education models, compared to the rather disciplined and rigid philosophy we mainly see today (especially in early education)

How do you relax?

Running, reading, hiking, travelling. Being a happy school owner however, makes it some times difficult to separate completely private life from school’s active community!

Which 3 industry people would you like to invite to dinner?

Apart from my good friend Teacher Tom, whom I have the chance to dine with pretty often (!!):
1. Dr. Peter Gray, a man I greatly respect and admire
2. Sir Ken Robinson, because his famous 2006 TED speech on “school killing creativity” triggered millions of people around the world to start thinking what is wrong with our established education system
3. Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Head of KHDA, in order to have the chance to discuss in detail his vision and plans regarding Dubai’s education future

Come and hear John’s talk at
IPSEF Middle East on September 28, 2016

You can read John’s career biography here

visit our website
IPSEF Middle East

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International Fairy Tea Party 2016

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We spent the whole week preparing our fairy tea party which took place on Thursday and Friday in the woods. After reading in school the legend of the rainbow fairies, we decided to help these little fairies make a rainbow.

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In school, we put on the wings we made out of hangers and rope and practiced how to use the fairy dust and learnt a few spells! We mixed paints, just to find out that we only need three colors to make so many more.

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We even tried to make our colors shine by sprinkling some fairy dust on them.

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The result was to make everything around us shine bright, including ourselves!

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On Thursday and Friday, we had a wonderful day in the woods!

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We looked around for some fairy signs and while looking we found some acorns instead and a little tortoise wandering around.

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We built our fairy welcome houses in the trees and decorated them the way we wanted.

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Then, we went hunting for colors.

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And used what we found to make a rainbow.

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And after all this hard work, we set the table and had a cup of tea and biscuits!

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(by Claire Hadjinikolaou, English teacher in Dorothy Snot, Athens)

Henry from Taiwan in our kindergarten

These days we have a visitor in our school. His name is Henry and he is a student from Taiwan. Henry will be with us for six weeks and so we have the opportunity to learn many things about his country and culture.

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Few days ago, he prepared a very interesting presentation, in order for our children to get to know Taiwan.

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We saw Taiwan on the map and he told us it looks like a leaf!  We saw its flag and photos of his city.

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After that, we tried together to speak Taiwanese! We translated many words from Greek to Taiwanese and he wrote the name of every children using Chinese ideograms.

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Our kids were excited and many of them proved to be quite talented in Chinese writing.

Henry thank you, you are most welcomed in our school !!

(by Stavroula Gaoutsi, kindergarten teacher in Athens)