Argentinean chess professor Héctor Cateros has developed a way to close a perfect circle: he found they could recuperate the recreation breaks in schools for playful purposes and diminish the discipline problems among the kids, all by using different types of recycled materials to make the children build their own games.
"I started with this ideas in 1998, motivated by the need of urgent solutions to discipline problems in the recreation spaces at schools, the lack of resources to buy games and the poor offer of good games in the market", he explains.
In 2001, he developed a program -which he named Drap Games, in reference to the Drap Art movement- that was implemented in Buenos Aires schools with the help of teachers, gym professors, and parents.
First, they formed groups to collect and classify materials, then they made a quick research of games that were most attractive to the kids, and finally, they came out with easy ways to recreate them. Just after the initial evaluations with the children, they concluded that the recycled games had many highlights. They found they were highly didactic -because of the big colored pieces-; creative -as the kids could take part in the process and choose what they wanted-; practical -missing pieces could be easily replaced-; and also, that they brought an environmental awareness to the children -as they started to concern about ecology, bring the themes to the families, and take action-.
Héctor Canteros is now working full time in the project with three divisions of Buenos Aires city Government. In the meantime, he offers workshops at schools, dinning rooms, refugees for homeless kids, fairs and festivals. Always teaching how to make all kinds of games with recycled materials. He is also a recognized chess teacher with many awards for his studies and investigations of teaching methods. He can be reached by E-mail. [by Paula Alvarado, Buenos Aires]
Kids playing a game made with bottle caps over a cardboard panel.
Girls drawing their game boards.