In school we talk a lot about the environment and the future of our planet. It is crucial to turn children caring & protecting, from very very early.
“Veronica” pre-K class entered this year a recycle & reuse project. They visited, some months ago, DOANYS industry in Athens that recycles paper and learned all about it. Returning to school, they decided to assume the responsibility of collecting the scrap paper from all classes.
When gathered some bags of scrap, they visited again the same recycle factory. Delivered what they collected and attended, hands-on, their garbage turning into paper to reuse.
Since they delivered a dozen of big bags, factory’s manager handed them the 1st recycling prize! Now, they will prepare for the Olympics….
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!
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)
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)
As the story was moving on, Dorothy started sending letters to the children. Green envelops began to appear in class, very often. Dorothy was asking for help and ideas.
In one of her letters, she sent us some photos of her last trips around the world and asked for our imagination: Was it possible for us to construct with those images by using toys and other materials?
Children thought of it, worked together, and responded to Dorothy’s request with great success!
(by Spyridoula Patouna, teacher in pre-K class in Athens)