The Play Town - a model for new learning

„When I entered the sports complex at the Olympic Park where the children’s town of Mini-Munich was set up for the first time and was looking down from above into the maze of rooms, alleys and squares, I could not physically move for a long time, I was so fascinated by the view,“ says Gert Selle, professor of Aesthetic Education in Oldenburg, summarizing his first view of the Play Town and continues: “ As a modern pedagogic attempt, the large-scale project of Mini-Munich, has proven itself magnificently …why was I, the level-headed observer with a different perspective, suddenly so enchanted by the visual quality of the place, where all the action solidifies – by the town on the floor of the hall, recreated every day, brought to life by the children milling about, protected, charged with the promise of participation in an hitherto unknown life full of new events?


… On a daily basis an intended answer to the situation is created in the form of a ,social sculpture’, like Beuys might envisioned it: the constantly self-reproductive, self-renewing Play Town action as a process or structure in time at this place as a network of social perceptions, relations and productivity.”


(from the magazine „Poiesis“ by Gert Selle, Prof. for Aesthetic Education, Oldenburg)


Whether one is considering the Play Town Mini-Munich as a game of children, always arranged in a new way and rich in variations, as a visionary project or a stand-alone aesthetic-artistic project, a permanently changing social sculpture- it is always worth the discussion, irrespective of the chosen perspective.

Considering its basic structure, it defies the rules agreed upon and the didactically legitimized orchestration, all standard pedagogic habits. The rules as well as the setting only serve the purpose of creating a productive frame, within which the children can act in a self-organized way. Those who will take the time to actively grasp how the many individual actions and activities are related to one another, will inevitably notice that all this can only be described as „life“. The Play Town represents a current reality for children. It may differ from the real adult world, but draws on its experience and references, which are used by the children in their own game. THE CHILDREN’S TOWN AS A GAME The idea is as simple as it is universally applicable: A city landscape made available as scene of action with different institutions – shops, workshops, banks, post office, town hall, refuse collection, library, garden centre. The roles offered can be assumed by the children, expanded and interpreted according to their own ideas. Depending on their previous experience and knowledge regarding these institutions, the children take up the different roles and one by one arrive in the joint game: they develop relationships, create networks and make agreements. The town landscape is filled with life.



for full article please download pdf file

Adobe Acrobat Dokument 276.5 KB