At JCDSRI we teach our students the practice of Design Thinking. Design Thinking is essentially a way of looking at needs, problems, and solutions by putting people and values first. It is “human centered” and relies heavily on observation and empathy. The first role of the designer is to observe, ask questions, and understand the user’s needs and values. The key mindsets of Design Thinking are a bias towards action, valuing people above products, radical collaboration, rapid prototyping, and failing fast. Design Thinking is a process that informs the way we approach and teach content and skills.
Our design lab is a space where students explore engineering concepts and translate their knowledge, empathy, and ideas into action. Projects change based on student interest, developmental stages, and classroom connections. Experimentation, creativity, failure, and discussion are not only permitted – they are required! The design lab is stocked with all kinds of raw materials for building, and it is a place of joyful invention.
Since January 2014, JCDSRI has had a partnership with the Brown/RISD STEAM club. Together, we created KinderSTEAM, in which undergraduate and post-graduate students from various disciplines collaborate with our faculty and lead lessons with our students in grades Kindergarten through Five.