The Goddard School in Boardman turned playtime into a time of learning during the school's "Teach, Play Learn" initiative last week. Preschool students let their imaginations run wild as they created problem-solving inventions out of Tinkertot toys.
The school participated in a nation-wide event along with more than 300 additional Goddard schools across the county that encouraged students to build problem-solving creations made of out Tinkertots toys. The four-day program was created in an effort to introduce 21st century and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills to children.
"Learning cannot stand still; it must go in step with the modern world. We're teaching students skills for the 21st century, like critical thinking and problem solving," said Education Director Luba Everitt.
Photo by Eartha Terrell, Town Crier
Finley, 3, makes a lollipop out of her Tinkertot toy during a special program at the Goddard School in Boardman.
Throughout the week, enthusiastic preschoolers were given free range to express themselves at designated "work stations" using toys and art. The tiny inventors impressed teachers and faculty members with their insightful yet innovative creations. Some of which included a water and jean factory, a car engine, and an ambulance that also doubled as a snowplow.
"When they have playtime there's no limit to what they can create. It's amazing," said teacher Esther Plourde.
In addition to sculpting creations, students also participated in science experiments. One class learned about chemical reactions and the property of elements during an experiment that combined glue and liquid starch.
"Even though they are playing, they are learning," said teacher Sara Rolland. "It gets them thinking.
Students honed in on lifelong skills such as teamwork and independent thinking. According to Rolland, some students learned to work more efficiently by collaborating with their classmates, while others learned how to visualize a concept and create their own ideas from start to finish.
Students weren't the only ones enjoying themselves. Parents also joined in on the fun and assisted their children with projects at home.
"Parents love it because they want their children to develop as individuals...and enjoy what they are doing and learning as well," said Everitt. "We're happy to provide an environment that supports each child as an individual and that allows them to be who they are."