Simi Sicherli – playful learning
The instruction service of the Thurgau cantonal police, together with the cartoon character Simi Sicherli, visits several hundred kindergartens every year and practices with the youngest children how to be safe pedestrians. The new Simi Sicherli box from “Verkehrssicherheit Thurgau”, which includes a board game and an audio CD with a radio play, provides additional support for this work.
Kantonspolizei Thurgau, Schweiz
To really understand how children of kindergarten age are taught about safety on the sidewalk and when crossing crosswalks, we took part in a visit by a police officer to a kindergarten and observed very closely the way they were addressed and the learning content conveyed. In addition, we conducted an interview with the president of the Thurgau Kindergarten Conference, Tanja Kroha, who is a kindergarten teacher herself and was able to contribute valuable experience from everyday kindergarten life.
On this basis, we then developed an integrated overall concept. We divided the learning content into five main chapters and wrote a story based on these chapters. It was important to us that each chapter also works on its own. This means that we don’t have to tell the whole story each time, but can also focus on individual topics that seem particularly important at the time.
With this method, we succeeded in accommodating all learning content in the story. In parallel, we developed the board game in which Simi walks home from kindergarten and experiences many situations. The situations are based 1:1 on the story, which means that the children can find all the learning content on the board. The goal of the game is to be the first to arrive home, but to follow the traffic rules.
On the way, Simi passes several crosswalks that shorten the route, but he can only cross them if he has first drawn all four collectible coins from a small bag. The different collecting coins stand for the four-sounding phrase “warte, luege, lose, laufe” (wait, look, listen, go), which is familiar to children in Thurgau. After all, according to this concept, children at the crosswalk should ensure that they cross the road well and safely.
In addition to the board game and the CD with the story and songs, the Simi box also contains a Simi hand puppet, which was designed by the Simi project group with the participation of graphic designer Herbert Schreiner in collaboration with the team of traffic instructors from the Thurgau Cantonal Police.
To round off the overall concept of story and board game, we produced an enlargement of the partial section of the game board for each of the five partial stories on a solid cardboard, which has the respective partial story printed on the back for the kindergarten teacher to read aloud. In this way, the story can also be told in a circle of chairs.
The project was accompanied by Lea Meili, who summarized the didactic concept for the kindergarten teachers in the accompanying booklet and thus ensured that the Simi-Box will stand up to critical scrutiny.