Marrying Teacher Chryssa

Learning occurring through play based on real life situations, is in the core of life-derived learning. Here is a perfect example:

Kindergarten kids visited a fashion house specializing in wedding gowns! They were excited (ok, it goes more for the girls!) and coming back in school decided to perform a wedding!

Teacher Chryssa was convinced to be the bride, so play started! (FYI, they took it up to the end!! 🙂 )

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Just keep calm and be proud of my toddlers!

Some days, the only thing you have to do as preschool teacher is to observe and just keep being proud of your team! That feeling I had a few times during last days, in my classroom.

My team consists of toddlers, children between 2-3 years old. Their mood changes from one minute to another, but lately they have been using their imagination in a unique way.

One day, Thanasis and Eleni were playing with dough, while Ilia came in the room carrying her little teddy bear. Immediately,  an impromptu role play game popped up, from nowhere!

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Children started making food with dough for Ilia ‘s teddy bear, because Ilia confirmed that it felt really hungry. Suddenly, Thanasis observed that Teddy bear felt cold and run around the classroom to find a coat and socks for it.

After that, teddy needed a walk and children began walking it  around the classroom. Up to the moment a wild storm began! Then, everybody run away to find the best possible shelter for teddy, which was under a table.

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For more than twenty minutes children kept being excited in this role playing. Moving from one state of mind to another, on their own initiative, using their imagination, their oral communication skills and body language in an unbelievable way.

I feel really proud of my children!

(by Evangelia Nteka, teacher in toddlers class in Athens)

How does it rain? Let’s experiment!

In school bus kids started a discussion about how does water gets included into the clouds and where does it come from?

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First, we noted on paper our thoughts and thought about the continuous circular movement of water. We talked about the global water cycle and wrote down the phrase, in Greek.

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Afterwards, we experimented over the phenomenon of condensation and found out that our breath is hot air. Blurring the windows of the school bus with our breaths, helped us realize how air changes into liquid.

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Then we played by creating patterns on the windows. Some children recognized the same happens in their bathroom.

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The experimentation thrilled children and their interest continued at home. So, Despina brought us a photo she took out of the experiment she made in home with a glass and ice cubes.

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We also studied the opposite phenomenon, evaporation, in which water is converted into air. We all remembered, from our daily life, when mom spreads out wet clothes to dry. At the same time we threw water on our trousers to see what happens and how quickly it dries.

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Back in class, school bus children continued to experiment on evaporation during cleaning the blackboard with a wet sponge. They wrote something on the board using the wet sponge and shortly after it was lost! Rest children of the class liked the experiment and asked to write with a wet sponge, too. As you can imagine, we ended having the cleanest blackboard in school!!

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(by Eleni Triantafyllopoulou, bus school teacher in Athens)

Ophthalmology class in school bus (II)

After the experience children had in school bus with Spyridoula’s eye glasses, they asked me if I can see clearly while not wearing mine.

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I replied that when not in glasses, I use eye-lenses. Next day, I gave them a pair of lenses to come in contact with. They touched them, smell them and realized that after a while they got dry.

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So, I told them to place them into their own case with the special liquid and lenses became wet and resilient again.

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Since then, every time that I don’t wear glasses, children look into my eyes and try to “locate” my lenses.

(by Chrysa Vaitsi, cross-class projects’ coordinator in Athens school)

So many ideas!

During time of free play, I took a roll of toilet paper and cut it into pieces. Then, Anastasia came and asked me what I was trying to do.

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I told her “I’m trying to think what to do with this material, but I can not. Can you help me”?

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She said we can make a case for pencils using the whole roll. Katerina came at the table and constructed a perfect case!

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Then another idea came up. “We can make bracelets with the pieces you cut!”. So, Katerina, Artemis, Emily and Andriana made lots of beautiful bracelets.

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Katerina said “hey, my case can also be used as a hanger for the bracelets!

 

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Emily had another idea, and made a nice palm-tree!

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So many ideas, with just some pieces of recycling paper…

(by Spyridoula Patouna, teacher in pre-K class)

Process-based learning

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Free play in class is an important part of the day, for any play-based preschool.

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Through play, children imagine, create, disagree, negotiate, learn to solve problems, explore materials – but also develop their relationship with other children.

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The decision of our kindergarten kids to construct a privacy box for their medical corner, gave them the opportunity to master all the above, plus to connect play with maths.

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Children got divided into groups and began to work. First, paid a visit to the local carpenter to pick their wood.

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Then, returned to school and started to work….

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  • grouped pieces of wood according to height, shape and size
  • measured the length of the room and distances between the woods
  • chose the proper pieces for their construction
  • picked the rest of the staff needed, such as screws, nails and glue
  • calculated the quantities
  • chose the right tools.

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While doing the above, class entered into assumptions, cooperation, testing, made mistakes and worked together to produce a certain result. But mostly, enjoyed the process!

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(by Stavroula Gaoutsi, kindergarten teacher in Athens)