What was your favourite toy, which toy do you still remember? Toys differ in many ways, but most of all they differ in degree of challenge. A child is done with one toy within a day whilst the other keeps the interest of a child for a long time. At Dikkedeur everything is chosen with care, toys included. Main criterion in selecting toys is durability and the quality of play, in order to accomplish our motto: Speel en Speel Goed! (Play and Play Well!)
Dikkedeur is highly aware of the importance of playing. While playing we learn an abundance of things without actually having the feeling we are learning. That is the idea of ‘learning by playing’. But playing is also ‘enjoying’. It gives pleasure and satisfaction to investigate something and improve ourselves. So, toys need to be challenging. The more fun we have, the more we persevere, even if we don’t immediately succeed. The looks of the toys add to that pleasure in the form of aesthetic experience: we enjoy watching beautiful things. When experiencing beauty from a young age we develop an eye for beauty in adulthood, not only in the extraordinary but also in ordinary day-to-day objects. Besides learning and aesthetic pleasure, playing also offers social contact, it is ‘socially enriching’. In playing with peers you experience the joy of contact with others and, while growing older, parenthetically learn important social codes.
Click here for some photos of toys with a high playing quality from the Dikkedeur collection.
All groups at Dikkedeur are equipped with high quality toys and games. In addition we have a ‘speelotheek’ containing a carefully chosen range of special toys that pedagogical employees can ‘borrow’. At each group a copy of the toy-catalogue is present, including an explanation for each item about the specific qualities of that toy, so pedagogic employees can offer the items in a directed/specific manner. You can view this catalogue during the tour of the establishment.
The Quality member of staff is responsible for acquiring all high quality toys at Dikkedeur, at the groups and in the speelotheek, and makes sure additional toys are bought when needed.
Read aloud to children and looking through books together improves children’s language skills, creates moments of rest during a day and stimulates the social contact between children. Each group has its own books. Additionally Dikkedeur has a library with a vast selection of children’s books that can be ‘borrowed’. The pedagogic employees thus have an endless supply of books to read to the children.
The need to read! That is what the National Reading days (in Dutch: Nationale Voorleesdagen) is about. In line with reading to children at the group and managing an own library, every year, Dikkedeur takes part in the National Reading Days. Each year this is a festive event with which we, simultaneously, highlight the importance of language skills and (thus) of read aloud. During those days known Dutch people come to Dikkedeur to read to the children: a politician, aldermen, or famous illustrator of children’s books. Moreover we also invite parents to make time and read at their child’s group.
Small children don’t understand the concept of Father’s day or Mother’s day. The national habit expects children to make something for Father- and Mother’s day. As a result not the children but the pedagogic employees create something, since everyone wants it to look good.
Therefore, years ago, we chose an alternative that fits the perceptions and abilities of young children: Child’s Day. Child’s Day at Dikkedeur is a festive day with a special program: a clown’s show or a selection of animals from the play farm at the outdoor play area.
In this concept we switch the roles around: you as a parent make a small present for your child(ren)! Maybe you now think ‘oh dear, I can’t do that, I am not at all creative’, but we can reassure you. We help parents along by organising a parent crafts evening before Child’s Day; an evening with plenty ideas and materials for you to easily create something beautiful. Many creatively insecure parents have preceded you and have gone home satisfied, filled with pride about what they had crafted. Not surprisingly, this night is a great success, every year.
There certainly is no lack of creative challenges for the children at Dikkedeur. We stimulate this even more by working together with Rotterdam institutions and people, each with their own approach. Playing dress-up and theatre at a level suited for children, with or without vocals, is possible at Dikkedeur in a separate specially decorated theatre room at Kralingen. The year 2012 is the year of Art at Dikkedeur. A major project in which all groups of day-care and BSO get to know several aspects of experiencing and creating art, all accompanied by artists in collaboration with Centrum voor Beeldende Kunst (the centre of fine arts). Artists come to Dikkedeur and in turn the children visit the ateliers. Many technics are tested: painting, creating an aquarelle, moulding, making a booklet, using charcoal or East-Indian Ink. The pedagogic employees receive tips from the artists in order to continue the artistic momentum in our child Centre, after the project is done. This way the experience of art and the artistic technics gets fully integrated in the care.