by Gabrielle Kennedy
Man And and Communication graduate Juliette Pépin has won the 10 000 euro Social Design Talent award offered by the city of Eindhoven for her project M.O.T.S. M.O.T.S is an educational game set and method, which introduces children to different languages before prejudices take hold. It was designed in collaboration with a psychologist and a teacher from Marcel Cachin preschool.
"I look at Europe and I see many problems,” says Pépin. “The rise of nationalism is going to create a really different type of Europe to the one I grew up in.
Initially Pépin wasn’t sure how to combine her interests in education, children and her concern about the world around her. “I am not a critical designer,” she says. “I don’t like looking at stuff and saying it is wrong. I prefer for people to perceive of diversity in a positive way. That is what informs my design process."
M.O.T.S is a set including stamps, memory games, stencils and flash cards that introduces children to 26 languages from Koean to Greek, Arabic and Punjabi.
“It is aimed to trigger the child’s interest in languages,” Pépin says. “In the workshops the kids do not know they are learning. They just play with no instructions. It is similar to a Montessori approach with its focus on tactility. It is only afterwards that we inform them that what they were doing was playing with language and then we contextualize it by sharing stories about the countries that speak that language, looking at maps and customs.”
Pépin is thrilled to win the Social Design Talent prize because it will help her get the project to the next level, expose her to more people in the field, and to having M.O.T.S operating in preschools in the region of Brabant.