Design Thinking and Innovation in the Early Childhood Classroom
Design thinking can be used to enhance the learning experience and outcomes among pre-school and kindergarten pupils. This kind of thinking involves a fluid interactive and dynamic approach to solving problems. Young children are masters of imagination and intuition. They have not been exposed to stereotypes and corrupted knowledge that tends to kill creativity in adults. In fact, it is easy to incorporate design thinking in their natural way of learning. Young learners tend to be creative and are also inquisitive. In a learning environment, they will ask questions that are beyond their level of thinking.
The basics of design thinking involve discovering, empathizing, experimenting and producing results. (DEEP). The actual process involves empathy, defining, ideating, creating, prototyping, and testing. Teachers should be at the forefront to grow this DEEP thinking methodology among the young kids and make the classroom experience a theater for innovation, creativity, imagination, and intuition.
You will find that children have varying interests and talents right from preschool age. It is possible to build design thinking around those things that the kids have an interest in and incorporate the curriculum into the overall mode of thinking. This is how you can achieve this.
Teach Kids To Empathize
Empathy is the foundation for relationships and integration in the society. This skill is by no means a natural one since it has to be taught. Human beings are born naturally independent and self-loving. When left on their own, their needs tend to dominate the scene at the expense of others.
Part of the teaching on empathy is role-playing by the teacher. The teacher has to invoke the right emotions on the students. Then, he or she should teach the students to interact in an environment that is warm with love.
Take Note Of Their Ideas
Ideating is basically a strategy used to brainstorm ideas. In every learning environment, the practical bit should always be geared towards allowing children to think. Their often funny imaginations are vital in helping them develop critical thinking skill.
Teach Them To Create And Reflect
Children should be taught to self-evaluate or reflect on the things that they have done, what their friends have said, or what they are interested in doing. Here they can create sketches or models of what they have imagined.
The result of any simple exercise in the classroom is a prototype, whether correct or wrong. Teachers should never demoralize the kids for something done wrong. However, they should train the young minds to determine if the answers or results look like what the teacher wanted. Testing the results help increase efficiency and get correct solutions as kids get to learn from their mistakes. Design thinking utilizes that natural technique that the mind uses to learn. It is effective and enhances retention.
Design thinking eliminates memorization as a way of learning. Memorizing makes one unable to adjust the solution to meet the need. However, a combination of critical thinking, reflecting and testing always gets a workable solution. When the young kids learn it at a very young age, it makes them innovative no matter the career that they choose later in life.