The project 5 Hills

         From the moment I took my first step into the world of young children’s education I knew this was the path for me, even when I was still a newbie; I have loved this career from the very beginning, I felt particularly passionate about innovative teaching methods and what my colleagues called ‘STEM’. Without any idea of what STEM was, I undertook research to figure out what it was all about and how could it be linked to early childhood; I swiftly fell in love with the concept. But, as happens with real love, time show us challenges and shortcomings to overcome. Unfortunately, STEM is not neutral and accessible for all, it has been strongly demarcated by cultural contexts, with several toys and games having gender-predispositions, and being available only to those with enough money. Changing this was my purpose! How could I make STEM exciting and engaging for all the children? How could I bring STEM-learning to the small preschool I used to go in my little town in Colombia when I was a child? That is when I started to create the concept of 5 HILLS… 

       Two years ago, working in Shantou City in China as an early year’s practitioner, I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of Only World to whom I introduced my vague and abstract ideas. That “concept” has since become a project. They have the know-how, and I the educational idea. Together we established three main philosophies for 5 HILLS, to make our ideas come true:

•“It is paradoxical that many educators and parents still differentiate between a time for learning and a time for play without seeing the vital connection between them.” -Leo F. Buscaglia.

PLAYING = LEARNING

        Our mission is to transform STEAM-learning in a playfulexperience, each of our toys and games was not intended to ‘make our children smarter for the future’, and is instead aimed towards building dispositions to learning, creative problem solving, reasoning, and cooperative work. Our entire collection was intended for children to love playing with them over and over again, thus contributing to the proficiency of skills necessary during their childhood.

• “Equality is leaving the door open for anyone who has the means to approach it, equity is ensuring there is a pathway to that door for those who need it’’ -Caroline Belden

ACCESSIBLE 4 EVERYONE

We have seen the large number of amazing STEAM-gadgets and toys out there on the market, the marvellous labs and equipment available to developed countries and pricey early education centres; for this reason, our goal is to be the pathway for those who cannot access it. We have economized our STEAM-toys, carefully selecting the right materials and game methods while enhancing the educational content.

• “Art is intelligence having fun’’- Albert Einstein.

NO ART, NO STEAM

We implement a STEAM-approach instead of STEM. We believe that Art is as essential as all objective disciplines. Art is indivisible from the design of engineering, the beauty and magic of science, the geometry and symmetry in mathematics, and the innovation in technology.

The project

Currently, we are in the testing phase of two of our playing-boxes: our math reasoning game Tony’s grocery shop and our computational-logic game Rescue Bot. Additionally, we are at the beginning of the design process for three more playing-boxes to offer our first complete STEAM-toys collection.

Tony’s grocery shop

Tony’s grocery shop supports children’s learning in 5 MAIN areas:

1- Numerical visual representation

2- Meaningful object counting

3- Progressive arithmetical operations: adi-tion and subtraction

4- Problem solving and mathematical reaso-ning

5- Social and cooperative developement

Rescue Bot

RESCUE-BOT is the perfect games to transform your child into a little-coder by developing skills and logical thinking that support cognitive development as well as foster learning through game-play. Children will learn to program their RESCUE-BOT to help them carry out home-tasks successfully. RESCUE-BOT is the first coding experience for children from 4 years old as it is screen-free, endurable, fun; while develops basic programming concepts such as sequence, conditionals, looping, and code.