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!
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!
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.
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:
Pre-Ks on the runway of Plefsis dance studio, in Athens! Actual life-derived learning.
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!
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…
….hang them high and tried to hit them with improvised bats.
We also had a real grocery store set up in our dramatic play area!
The next day we decided to make smoothies. We came up with a recipe….
….executed it and decided whether we like it or not!
(by Claire Hadjinikolaou, English teacher in Athens school)
Loose parts like pipes, tubes, tires, balls of any kind, all are priceless tools for never ending play in a preschool.
Children love to create the most unusual type of connections between the objects and explore their physical and imaginative limits.
Living in a hot Mediterranean city like Athens, snow is a rare thing to see, downtown. But today, it was one of these days!
Being unfamiliar with snowy weather, the Municipality of Athens advised all schools to remain closed. However, a brave play-based school like Dorothy Snot is not afraid of some snow flakes!
The sure thing is our kids loved it. Being able to play with snow in the heart of the city is such an unusual experience down here. Not to mention that most of our 4 and 5 y.o. had not ever seen Athens in white!
Play in life-derived conditions is always the most exciting thing for children. And we are dedicated to keep providing this kind of play!
Returning from Christmas Holidays, pre-Ks started describing how they spent Christmas time. Each one had a story to tell about relatives visiting his/her house or about a beautiful gathering at a friend’s home.
So, they decided it would be a good idea to invite over the post-toddlers’ class, for the first tea party of the year!
They wrote and distributed the invitation and prepared a welcome note!
They got excited by their own creations (look below Anastasis and George astonished in front of the welcome note they wrote, hanging on the wall!!)
They rearranged tables and chairs in such a way that we could all sit together! Children from both classes had lot of fun!!!
Having finished the tea party and after cleaning the class, Rosa said: “I really loved that! Can we have one more tomorrow, please?”
(by Spyridoula Patouna, teacher in Pre-K class, in Athens)
In a play-based preschool, babies’ class runs on a continuous providing of sensory-type real life stimuli, assisting this way children to discover the world through their senses, while playing.
This philosophy does not change even during party events! So, in Dorothy Snot, the annual ritual of Christmas Party for babies class (1-2 y.o), always goes as follows:
- It is held in school, while other classes party in some kind of large theaters. Babies need a stable and familiar environment
- It involves extensive parents’ participation, to boost the enthusiasm of the children and to ensure whole family celebrates kids’ first Christmas party ever!
- It is based on a set of interactive play activities, connected to children recent school experiences, which lead to a festive ending (i.e. decorating our Christmas tree)
- It utilizes life-derived loose parts and lots of sensory play
So, please click on the following set of photos to get an idea of 2016 babies’ class Christmas party in Dorothy Snot preschool!