Harmanli Refugee Camp Play School

Harmanli Refugee Camp Play School is a centre for play-based learning and play therapy in which refugee children can relax, have fun and thrive!

The school provides children between the ages of 4 and 14 with a range of activities and lessons to develop math, science, art and English skills, knowledge and understanding as well as opportunities for personal, social and emotional development. The school also aims to introduce children to the structure and style of European schooling.

Year(s): 2014 - ongoing

Target group(s): Children between the ages of 4 and 14

Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HarmanliRefugeeCampPlaySchool/


The play school is split into 3 age groups: ages 4 - 7, ages 8 - 11 and ages 12 - 14. Each session begins with an hour of free play where children can choose from a wide range of art and craft activities, a mix of both educational and less educational toys and games, reading in the quiet area, sensory play and role play. This is followed by a 30 minute lesson where basic English and math are taught through games and songs.

Type of product

Play-based learning and therapy sessions 

Brief description of the product / outcome / method

Harmanli Refugee Camp Play School is an inclusive school which provides play-based learning and therapy activities for refugee children. Many children who attend have specific special educational needs and all children have experienced differing levels of trauma in recent years. All children between the ages of 4 and 14 who live in Harmanli Refugee Camp are welcome to attend, including children with additional needs.

Impact on target groups / Transferability potential

The school is very popular with both children and their parents, many have said that the school is the only good thing about being in the Harmanli Refugee Camp. Some even say that it is the only good thing about being in Bulgaria. When children first start coming to the school they are often very quiet, shy and frightened, they cling to siblings and stick to one area of the room. After just a few weeks attending the school they have made lots of friends, developed their confidence, social skills and ability to communicate with others who speak a different language. They can speak basic English and know their numbers, but most importantly they have learned to relax, play and be children again.

Promoter of the initiative

Name of organization / individual: Harmanli Refugee Camp Play School

Country: Bulgaria

Website: https://www.facebook.com/groups/HarmanliRefugeeCampPlaySchool/

Contacts: Gil Clasby, send a message through https://www.facebook.com/groups/HarmanliRefugeeCampPlaySchool/

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