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!

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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!

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.

Playworker Meynell Walter on “When Should Adults Intervene in Children Play?”

In May 2017, Meynell visited Dorothy Snot school in Athens to participate in the opening event of our new, bigger school.

Given the chance, we organized a public discussion on “What is Play?” in our old school’s garden.

Meynell gladly shared his experience and wisdom with us! Get a taste of what happened by watching the following video:

So much learning on fruit play

Talking about winter fruits in our English pre-k class. We introduced new vocabulary by giving fresh fruit to the children to feel, smell and taste. With their eyes closed they were able to identify and name them all!

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Then, we made a fruit salad. After we ate it all we played games in the yard.

We rolled plastic fruit to see how far they can go…

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….hang them high and tried to hit them with improvised bats.

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We also had a real grocery store set up in our dramatic play area!

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The next day we decided to make smoothies. We came up with a recipe….

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….executed it and decided whether we like it or not!

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(by Claire Hadjinikolaou, English teacher in Athens school)