Vicky Xanthopoulou, a preschool teacher in a small village called Potamia in the north Greek island of Thasos, is officially the best teacher in the world after receiving the Global Teacher Award from the international organisation of education, AKS.

By Alexandros Theodoropoulos

The reason behind this great success for the Greek preschool teacher is her innovative educational action “Let’s play book” (original Greek title: “Paizoume Vivlio) that has been active for more than 6 years now.

“Let’s play book” is actually a creative animation primer for young preschool children that employs experiential learning to stimulate children’s imagination and promotes human values that will make them the citizens of tomorrow.

The super preschool teacher that works in the all-day public kindergarten of Potamia, a small village with almost 1,500 residents in the Greek island of Thasos, created with passion a unique tool of literacy and alphabet which instantly captured the hearts of the young readers.

According to the award-winning teacher, the secret can be found at the creation of strong experiences for young children, which later will become unforgettable recollections.

Throughout this interactive process of entertainment they discover the social rules, learn how to respect one another and progress together as a team to the acquisition of certain values.

Vicky Xanthopoulou was already considered among the best teachers in the world as she had previously won international awards like The Freedom Through Literacy Award which acknowledged her for promoting literature as the utmost cultural commodity in a place without lending library.

She has also won the Excellence in Teaching – Teacher of the Year Award for year 2020 by AKS, the same international organisation of education that gave her the Global Teacher Award as the ultimate recognition of her work.

AKS rewards teachers from all over the world for their enterprising action and programs that aim at the advancement of their school communities with innovative ideas and new ways of teaching.

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In the wake of the awards ceremony held in Dubai, the Greek preschool teacher said she was really emotional and felt incredible joy that her program had received such an important distinction.

This was a bet for me. Literature can be used as an educational tool in class, something that activates children’s participation and imagination and  cultivates values like mutual respect, empathy and cooperation, all of which are values of a global citizen”.

The best Greek preschool teacher, now one of the best in the world, didn’t achieve distinction by chance but because of her love for the job. She says that she works with the purest part of society through which she can breathe.

I don’t see it as a profession, it’s a way of expression. I feel like I am alive, I can breathe inside the school classroom, I work with the purest part of society and together we are trying to create a better world. I want my students to feel that we are at the centre of the world despite being in a small village on a north Greek island”.

She knows that, in the future, this pure part of society and its protagonists will remember her forever and will reciprocate her love.

#HERstory

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