Can we play and learn at the same time? Should play be left at the door of the classroom? Is there any sense in an education that does not take games and the playful side of life into account?

Real life eventually answers these fascinating questions. The more severe approaches to teaching girls and boys have been in decline for many years now. In contrast, new movements and tendencies that emphasise the importance of gratification in the learning process are constantly forming.

Play obviously has a highly educational function, because it stimulates intelligence, creativity, memory and imagination and helps to socialise people, encouraging teamwork.

The newly-coined term edutainment (formed of education and entertainment) acknowledges the idea of blending teaching with fun. Barcelona and Catalonia actually have a pedagogic tradition that underlines this aspect and reaches beyond new technology, internet and videogames to the simple act of playing. playing to include traditional street and team games, whether sophisticated and complex or straightforward. The famous Montessori method, the proposals of the Rosa Sensat School of Educators or the new strategies of the Escola Nova 21 did away with the idea of education divorced from play and discovery.

Society as a whole has come to accept that learning and studying should not be an ordeal for boys and girls, but neither should the extra-curricular and complementary activities in which they are supposed to enjoy themselves.

The City of Dreans, from 27 to 31 December, at the Montjuïc site, is living proof that we can learn by playing. It offers many sports, games and cultural activities in which boys and girls aged 4 to 12 can explore the world of different professions, playing at being firemen, vets, footballers, doctors, teachers, lab technicians, couriers, architects, waiters or journalists, among others. Playing, exploring, discovering. The key words.

R.P.