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What happens in Athens… will not stay in Athens

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Dimitra Spyratou  –  09/08/2019

What happens in Athens… will not stay in Athens

Thoughts and facts about the first emJoy seminar in Athens.

On a sunny and warm summer day, two members of the emJoy team met up with a small group of enthusiastic people and talked about education, play and the joy of learning and teaching. I am referring to the first emJoy seminar in Athens; it took place on Saturday the 6th of July at the cozy and welcoming space of the bookstore Books & Beans.

Despite the warm weather, perfect for a dip in the cool sea, we gathered together for a couple of hours and got to know each other, shared and… played. Teachers, university students and parents all participated in our event, a small group that very quickly warmed up and relaxed. For those who came, this was a great opportunity to explore and discover their inner curious child. 

Stressed but excited to be talking about emJoy to a new audience, we presented our organization, our values, aim, current and future events. I don’t mind repeating what emJoy aims to do: bring teachers together, create a supportive community of educators and people involved in education in other ways than teaching such as educational research.  

We discussed about the Joyful Festival of Education, our first international conference happening in Athens. More precisely, it will take place on 12 and 13 of October in the Golden Age Hotel of Athens and the registrations are currently open! Esteemed speakers, experts, researchers and educators with new ideas and passion for education, are all going to be in our conference and they guarantee high quality of speeches and up to date research on education. Don’t wait too long to join us. You can register here!

At the end of our presentation, the participants engaged in a number of games aimed to get to talk to each other, share what they do and how they heard about our event. An important question that helped them move around, discuss and laugh was about what brings them joy in their life. The answers could be anything and were collected on a common board. 

They were also encouraged to fill in our joyful bubbles with words related to education, and start with the letters of our organisation’s name ‘Embrace Joy in Education’. Join our next events and you will be able to fill in these papers with your own ideas and thoughts.It is a symbolic way to connect the teachers we meet in different cities, and give them the chance to read what others had answered. 

Yro Katsamagka, educator, MSc. Outdoor Environmental Education And Outdoor Life, was our invited speaker for the day. In her speech ‘Our senses as a tool for experiential learning and skill development’ she shared her theoretical knowledge about our senses, our ‘super powers’. Referring to the different pedagogical and philosophιcal theories, she explained how our senses can be used to support learning and development. 

She also presented us the program ‘Sensory play’ that she is currently running with groups of children and parents. It includes multi-sensory activities that stimulate all senses through a playful approach. The emphasis is on developing skills, such as fine motor and movement coordination, and on exploration and cultivation of creativity using natural or other material. Safety was a very important issue we had to discuss too and Yro explained all the different factors she takes into account before planning her workshop with the children e.g. age group. 

We also got to play after the presentation! Yro brought a range of different materials and encouraged the participants to explore them and get inspired. What kind of activities can you plan using the given material? Which ones would you combine together in order to plan playful and fun activities for the children? The participants were prompted to think, collaborate and present their ideas to the others. 

Good news for you!!! You will have the chance to meet Yro in October as she is also one of our workshop facilitators in the Joyful Festival of Education. She is planning an interactive and creative workshop for everyone who will join her workshop entitled ‘Sensory play: A full-sense experience of learning’. 

These are the news from Athens! Stay tuned for more events, blog posts and exciting announcements regarding our upcoming conference! 

Experiences & lifelong learning

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