WHAT ARE CHILDREN’S CREATIVE EMPLOYMENT CENTERS?
Most parents would like their children to grow up like they used to, in the playgrounds with endless free play, but unfortunately this is now almost impossible. Times and facts have changed. Nowadays, children, from an early age, show an “addiction” to technology, mobile phones and screens.
Chances are, therefore, that they are not attracted to the idea of doing something that is actually genuine entertainment. Something that will benefit their way of thinking, but also their socialization. Children’s creative employment centers come to solve this problem and help in their own way. Their purpose is to provide quality and creative educational activities, individual or group, to fill a child’s free time, but also to help working parents at the same time.
In particular, KDAP (Creative Children’s Employment Centers) are defined as units in which children aged 5-12 are employed for a certain period of the day. Their purpose is the employment of children outside school hours, the creative use of their free time through group activities and the service of their parents (Government Gazette 1397/Β/22-10-2001). These are educational spaces for creation, joy and fun. Children make friendships, strengthen existing ones and develop their talents and skills through the activities in which they participate.
WHY KDAP AT HAPPY KIDDO?
Happy Kiddo’s Creative Employment Space has already been operating for a year,
many hours of joy, creation and expression and countless children’s smiles. It is a space created with children in mind, their needs and their interests.
Our workshops are open every day throughout the year with winter opening hours from 17:00 to 20:30 and summer opening hours from 8:00 to 16:00. Also, it is important to mention that beyond our private operation, we cooperate with E.ET.A.A. and the Harmonization of Family & Professional Life program co-financed by the NSRF.
Therefore, we accept children with the NSRF voucher for children’s creative employment centers.
In a modern and fully equipped space of 200 sq.m. as well as in our specially designed courtyard area of 400 sq.m., our little friends have the opportunity to entertain themselves, expand their horizons, discover, experiment and of course have fun!
To emphasize that the educational space is a variable framework of human activity, a field of complex social interactions and education, a multi-potent material reality through which the child receives the first stimuli for the pedagogical practice. Thus, our space was studied and created taking into account all these parameters, creating a modern, intimate and safe environment that creates possibilities for active and experiential learning.
The functional and flexible space of our center is an impression of the children’s world, adapted to the characteristics and needs of the children. High aesthetic and quality infrastructures encourage collaboration between team members, offer opportunities for active participation and freedom to take initiatives.
In terms of human resources, the people who work in our structures have been selected
with the primary criterion being their passion and love for children. They are education professionals, e.g. kindergarten teachers, teachers, gymnasts, musicians, graduates of higher educational institutions with many years of experience in education structures. Their academic education combined with the experience of the school reality, led them to create a program that puts at its center a set of pedagogical principles.
The main areas of development of the interdisciplinary approach are: oral communication/language, b) mathematics, c) creation and expression, d) environmental studies, e) IT, f) music. That is why we have organized our workshops in such a way that they cover all thematic sections with creativity taking off. Also, all activities are worked on simultaneously as a group and individually. This means that they are organized in such a way as to follow the age, abilities and weaknesses of each student without losing their interest and the group of its recommendation. In more detail, each week the following thematic sections will be brought to life:
The thematic section that was loved so much last year by our little friends continues of course this year with many new ideas. Scissors, threads, woolen skeins, fabrics, beads and a multitude of other materials can be found on the tables of the creative sewing workshop that we have created with a lot of love and passion for our children. Special needles for children’s hands as well as a real sewing machine will serve us as tools in a wonderful journey of imagination and creativity. So in our workshop, we learn basic sewing techniques, discover, try, dare, express ourselves and of course boost our self-confidence through the construction of our personal creations.
* DO IT YOURSELF
What kid doesn’t love creating things with their own hands? And how much joy and sparkle we have not seen in their eyes when they look at their creation especially when
have they put effort and effort into it? In this craft workshop we offer various materials (cardboard with various textures, markers, watercolors, temperas, etc.) but also others that in everyday life seem useless to us (such as newspapers, wire, wood, boxes, etc.). To all of these we give new life and use with color and imagination while at the same time our creativity “hits red”.
* SMALL PICASSOS
We start our day with painting, which children enjoy without thinking about what it offers them. But its benefits are many and important. Beyond the obvious, such as practicing fine motor skills, developing imagination and creativity, our little artists express feelings, thoughts, concerns and “present” themselves to us in a different way. Also, through this art, children learn about themselves on an emotional and practical level. This thematic section of ours is characterized by a variety of activities concerning great Greek and foreign painters, artistic trends (Renaissance, Cubism, Impressionism, etc.) but also the use of materials unknown to children’s hands (such as charcoal), as well as the surfaces above
in which we work (such as stone, wood and canvas). Organized (like sketches) or abstract (but always with a specific goal and purpose) works of art spring from our blocks and our little artists enjoy admiring the “fruits” of their labors.
* SMALL DIRECTORS
Theater and cinema two arts that copy our lives and vice versa. Two arts that push the person to free himself from himself and “live” for a while as someone else. They are the arts that help people to “travel” to imaginary or real places, far or near. Our children in this thematic through play-filled activities come into contact with information about the history, genres, forms, techniques and the role of the contributors in these two art forms. At
then there are dramatizations and improvisations at individual and group level and later experiential engagement with famous theater and film works, which we read, narrate, divide roles, direct, act while later, being more experienced in the genre, we will attempt our own performance and/or our own movie. The children work as a team without ever losing their individuality, they suggest, reflect, disagree, agree, discuss and decide on every part of the play from the dialogues and sets to the costumes and the score. The result always surprises and is adored by even the most demanding viewer.
In recent years we hear more and more the term stem but what exactly does it mean? It comes from the initials of the words Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. With stem, problem solving and revelatory-exploratory learning play a dominant role. Of course, it is not intended that we all become nuclear scientists, but it helps us to discover and develop basic elements that will serve us in the course of our lives in all areas. Logical thinking, love for the environment, love for science, acceptance of failure, stimulation of curiosity and problem solving are just a few of the benefits it offers and most importantly with hands on activities that is, with the help of our hands and always in a playful way . Our important helpers in this section will be the electronic computers, the interactive board and other technological means available at the Happy Kiddo School.
* LEGOLAND ΚΑI ROBOT EXPERTS
Who doesn’t know legos, the little colorful plastic bricks? And more specifically, what child does not know them? Is it just a game? Or not only? The word lego also comes from the Danish phrase “I play well” and this is no coincidence. Legos are educational material for acquiring programming skills and more. Development of fine motor skills, visual skills, spatial awareness and experimentation with concepts such as mechanics and mathematics are also benefits of assembling these small colored building blocks. legoland, therefore, is “transported” from Billund, Denmark to the KDAP of Happy Kiddo and excites
our little friends while simultaneously filling the batteries of our creativity and imagination. As an extension of the use of lego comes the game of robotics. Or
our beloved bee bot but also many new ideas and surprises are combined with children’s love for new technologies and the result is fantastic. Children of all ages approach programming and IT concepts without any difficulty since the process is done gradually, without scientific and complex concepts that usually tire our little friends. The children step by step, divided into groups but also individually, work on projects – challenges which aim to practice thinking, problem solving, cooperation and many other functions through a purely experiential game!
* MUSIC OF THE WORLD
Our first section for Thursday is about music and more specifically the music that exists in our country but also in other countries. In this workshop we will talk, listen, experience the culture, tradition and lifestyle of the peoples of our land! Through music we travel to parts of Greece and the world learning about them and their people. After all, music is a universal language that magically connects people to each other. And they know this more than all children, who love music without discriminating in genres, language or rhythm. In this unit, therefore, we will immerse ourselves and leave ourselves in the deep waters of musical tradition. And so rhythm, intensity and other musical concepts are sweetly and harmoniously involved with intercultural education and diversity in a wonderful journey with multiple benefits for the child both cognitively and emotionally!
* GAMES OF THE WORLD
Our journey around the world does not stop at music, however. Having been very loved by our children at Happy Kiddo’s summer camp, the thematic section of games from all over the world, of course, and we didn’t want to spoil their fun. We therefore decided to deal more extensively with this unit by organizing activities for a whole year. So we board the plane of our imagination and travel to parts of our planet observing children like the
ours to play the same or different games. This leads to thoughts, ideas, concerns and discussions about the everyday life of these children and our curiosity leads us on the road to new knowledge but mainly to the development of empathy for our fellow human beings. Then we learn new games, rules, cooperation and teamwork. Of course constructions are an integral part of this workshop since we also aim for the pleasant employment of our children at home as well. Movement and thinking are practiced simultaneously in an enjoyable and literally “playful” environment.
* GOLDEN CAPS
But is it possible for a child even of a young age to manage to cook something by himself? A parent is likely to wonder. And yet it is! And in fact it is necessary to involve it in this process since cooking not only benefits the senses but also the child as an entity. Through cooking, the child learns to be responsible, independent but also cooperative. Through cooking, the child learns to be responsible, independent but also cooperative. So we start with the recipe and the ingredients and then the children become active parts of the process as they deal exclusively with the tools and the execution of the recipe. Pastry, cooking, traditional but also more gourmet dishes will parade from the tables of our workshop. Plenty of raw materials as well as tools will help us achieve our goal, always of course with care and safety! So we put on caps and aprons and we are ready for our culinary challenges!
* CREATIVE WRITING
And what is creative writing? And what will my child do in this workshop? Will it be something boring? A parent will probably wonder. But let’s start with the definition. Creative writing is a set of skills that teach a person how to write a literary text of any kind. This can be a fairy tale, a screenplay, a play, a poem or even a comic book. So in this workshop the children initially learn through games to create imaginary or real stories and develop them. Afterwards, children “enter” even deeper into the world of imagination and creativity through literature. And if you think that this is only for older children, we assure you that all the activities are properly adapted to the age and temperament of each child and designed so that each child can cope and never lose interest. Critical thinking, cultivating a love of reading, improving children’s attitude towards learning, love and interest in literature, reducing difficulties in oral and written language and cultivating emotional intelligence are just a few of the benefits of this activity. But perhaps the most important benefit for us is the development of the imagination that every child has but by adulthood tends to disappear. So it is not worth devoting some of his time to such a creative, beneficial and productive hobby.