Fab Fridays 46: Design Matters

What if schools looked more like playgrounds and less like prisons?

Hey Everyone!​

Happy Friday and greetings from Miami.​

In my last edition, I wrote about helping kids think for themselves. Today I want to share a few more tips to raise independent thinkers, inspired by Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and the author of some of my favorite books.​

3 Bite-size Tips to Raise Independent Thinkers

  1. Don’t set rules, set values.

    Rules set limits that teach us to adopt a fixed view of the world.

    Values encourage us to internalize principles for ourselves.

    Instead of demanding attention, try talking to kids about why it’s important to listen.

  2. Have a dilemma? Ask kids for advice.

    "I'm feeling nervous about my presentation tomorrow, any tips?"

    This shows we have confidence in them to handle these kinds of challenges.

    Next time they face a similar situation, they'll know that they can rely on themselves.

  3. Don’t praise the action. Praise the character behind the action.

    Research shows we get a 22-29% increase in how likely kids are to help if we say "thanks for being a helper" instead of "thanks for helping."

    Kids want to earn that identity.

    For moral behaviors, nouns work better than verbs.

    Instead of “that was so generous” try “YOU are so generous.”

    Kids think ‘Oh, that’s the kind of person I want to be.'

    "When our actions become a reflection of our character, we lean more heavily toward the moral and generous choices. Over time it can become part of us." — Adam Grant


School Design Matters

Can you believe this is actually a game?

I'm surprisingly terrible. Take 30 seconds to give it a try.​

​This “game” got me thinking…what if we put more thought into the design of schools to ensure they inspire kids to actually want to show up for 12+ years?

What if schools looked more like playgrounds and less like prisons?

Below are some examples of schools around the world that have unique architecture and designs that inspire creativity and joy.​

One of my favorite ones is the Green School in Bali, an eco-friendly school made completely out of bamboo.

Another cool example is the LOOP Kindergarten in Tianjin, China that is shaped like a donut and doesn’t have a single corner!​

What about this private school in Rustavi, Georgia that turned an old aircraft into a classroom? Can you imagine being a kid and going to school on a PLANE? Kids can push buttons, look out of the cockpit, and have fun in this interactive learning environment.

​Or the METI School in Rudrapur, Bangladesh with rooms that are connected by cave-like portals that kids can explore or retreat into to study.

​This Kindergarten in Wolfartsweier, Germany looks like a giant cat!

​Or the Agora school in Roermond, Netherlands that has no classrooms!

Design matters. The best spaces for learning are those that convey a sense of possibility and exploration. Find out what environments make your kids feel creative!

Until next time!

​Ana Lorena Fabrega