aeioTU at the Park an experience that enhances the development of children through play and the connection with their senses, thoughts and nature.
Outdoor play as a medium of exploration
A growing body of evidence supports that play is fundamental for children’s positive development and an essential way to foster the skills required to thrive in today’s world. Play allows children to express their thoughts and beliefs about the world around them. Children create hypotheses with play and corroborate them, thus building their knowledge while they develop essential skills such as creative thinking, cooperation, empathy, problem solving and decision making. Play helps this hypothesis construction take place in an imaginative, exploratory and pleasurable way.
Hence, in aeioTU's* Educational Experience, play is recognized as a fundamental learning strategy. We encourage children to create playful experiences along with their peers and adults. These experiences enrich relationships by supporting collective agreement building and the recognition of the ideas of others.
aeioTU at the Park
Play is more enriching when it takes place in a suitable and provocative environment promotes children´s confidence and security to explore, ask and inquire. To this end, in 2013, educators from the aeioTU Nogal Center created aeioTU at the Park, a strategy to promote play amongst children and their families. Through an outdoor play experience that promotes connections with the open spaces in the community, children and their families had the opportunity to explore a diversity of materials, selected with a defined pedagogical intention. This first creative experience was so successful that it was scaled to other centers and territories, in such a way that it has impacted approximately 1,500 children and their families.
Enabling learning in outdoor spaces
The organization of an aeioTU at the Park involves teachers and artists passionate about early childhood. They propose play and exploration stations with large-scale arrangements of materials that can be easily worked and transformed. Using materials such as cardboard, paper, cloth, paint, plastic, seedlings, branches, magnifying glasses, earth, water, pumps and soap, among others. Children and their families are invited to develop open compositions, i.e. by letting children choose materials they wish to explore and that allow them to carry out creative processes without preconceived ideas. This experience allows exploration and the development of the imagination; starting from free play and moving to activities pre-designed with a pedagogical intention. To enable this educators have stations that invite children and adults to communicate beyond words, to organize their thinking, their behaviors, and to use different languages while playing with materials. Consequently, educators find an innovative excuse to help children build learning spontaneously and joyfully.
Building the full potential of children via aeioTU at the Park
aeioTU at the Park´s main objective is to contribute to the development of the full potential of children through play. By taking into account the development dimensions: cognitive, emotional, creative, physical and social, fundamental processes for development are made visible. For example, decision-making is visible when children exercise choice in picking stations and the materials with which they wish to interact with. Character is built when children have to share materials with peers and adults. Critically, families improve their parenting practices with play as the mediator.
Update from 2018 and collaboration with Lego Foundation
In July 2018, aeioTU at the Park moved to Mexico City during the "aeioTU Lab 2018 Mexico - Colombia", with the support of the LEGO Foundation and the DIF Nacional. Here, 80 children and families discovered the power of play through aeioTU in the Park showcasing how meaningful learning outdoor can be for children and families and how learning through play can organized in the open spaces of the community to the more than 450 educators that participated in the aieoTU Lab. The educators reached here have the power to impact more than 9,000 children, enrich relationships and interactions between children and adults in a playful environment and enable experiences that allow adults to rediscover the infinite capacities of children and thereby start spreading the aieoTU in the Park concept from its humble beginnings in Nogal, Bogota to children across Mexico.