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!
Everyday, children bring in school questions and ideas arising from their own life. For example, they all have in home displays and other IT equipment but hardly ever have the chance to find out how do those things look, from inside.
So, whenever this question comes in school, and the truth is it comes quite often, we just give them old pieces of HW and screwdrivers, to find out on their own. It’s always so much fun!
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!
(video by Claire Hadjinicolaou, English teacher in Athens)
In our play-based school, we always look for opportunities to mingle with fascinating reality.
A coming cornerstone for Athens, our city, is the relocation of National Library of Greece and of Greek National Opera to the very new and impressive SNF Cultural Center, near city’s coast.
Since 1903, National Library of Greece has been located into a historical building in the very heart of the city, designed by Theofilos Hansen and constructed by the great Ernst Ziller. This status-quo will end by September 2016, so these days it was really the very last chance for our pre-K and summer campus kids (kindergarteners & alumni) to visit it.
Children of both classes have been working lately in a variety of projects on sea and volcanoes. So, it was a great opportunity for kids to visit the old building and utilize library services in their research, getting thus a good idea on why we need libraries!
Library policies are tough and usually do not allow hosting preschoolers, but our fantastic kids proudly made it!
Children searched their subjects in library computers….
….identified the needed sources….
…and copied all information needed.
All in all, it was a fantastic day for our kids. They grasped a lifetime experience, just days before it become a gone-for-good memory!
(big thanks to Library staff Ms. Vasiliki Tsigkouni, Tonia Pateropoulou and Agathi Papamichael, for their assistance.)
During 2016 summer party, post-toddlers walk like the robot they made in class, Mr. Roboto!
Working together with craftsman Ilias Karantoniou, kindergarten and summer camp kids created self-propelled wooden boats! After production was over, they used babies’ plastic swimming pool to test them!