6-16-15  |  Our Programs

Fabretto Teachers #Play2Learn with Legos

BY: Anina Hewey

Fabretto preschool students in rural Nicaragua

Over the past several years, Fabretto has been recognized for implementing innovative methodologies in education programs. Recently, the Early Education program was selected as a Champion of Learning in the LEGO Foundation/Ashoka Changemakers “Re-Imagine Learning Challenge.”

Thanks to support from the LEGO Foundation, Mayara Pastrán, an exemplary Fabretto teacher, was selected to travel to Mexico City and participate in a training course on using LEGO bricks and toys in the preschool classroom. In our interview with Mayara, she explained what she learned in the course: “[Using LEGO bricks] is an active, participative teaching approach; the toys capture the children’s attention and help them develop creativity, logic, fine motor skills, and curiousity.”

Fabretto’s Early Education program promotes hands-on learning through interactive, child-centered lessons, and the LEGO lessons fit perfectly into Fabretto’s approach. Children are given the freedom to explore and learn through play, and the teacher becomes a facilitator and “playmate.” To ensure that teachers are prepared to support early child development, teachers must learn how to play.

A LEGO training session delivered by Fabretto teacher Mayara in Nicaragua 

Once she returned to Nicaragua, Mayara was ready to replicate the workshops for her fellow teachers in Nicaragua. She traveled to Fabretto’s Education Centers to deliver training to both Fabretto and Ministry of Education teachers. With the knowledge she gained in Mexico City, Mayara explained the foundational concepts behind learning through play and demonstrated effective play-based activities for teaching using LEGO bricks, which were donated to Fabretto by the LEGO Foundation. The teachers had fun learning how to play with the LEGOs, laughing as they worked together on the floor to build structures and make patterns. On a more serious note, with Mayara’s guidance, they recognized how effective the play-based activities were for teaching skills that students age 2-5 most need to develop before entering 1st grade. The LEGO training reaffirmed the transformative power of learning through play.

Each activity and game that the teachers learned will help students develop a strong foundation in communication, literacy, numeracy, and problem solving skills. LEGO Foundation studies have shown that children who learn through play with LEGO blocks are active, curious learners who develop motor skills and use their imagination.

A Fabretto-trained teacher leads an interactive lesson for her preschool class

Teacher training programs like this one make an enormous difference in Nicaragua, where over 78% of preschool teachers are not trained to teach. Fabretto’s programs offer access to professional development opportunities that build human capital in underserved communities and create a positive, child-centered learning environment. If you would like to support Fabretto’s Early Education programs, make a donation today.

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