“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
My eyes are fixed on the 6-yr old ‘young kidizen’ who is now trying to put the LEGO pieces together from a broken tower so that she may resurrect it. This is her third time trying. On her first attempt, she may have let out a little sigh that the beautiful, tall tower she built with cool LEGO pieces collapsed, as she tried to add the spire. The second time, despite being very careful with every piece and taking her own time, it collapsed again. A tiny bit of disappointment escaped as it happened. Still, she decides to get up, walks around and then comes back to building it for the third time.
This time, I want to interject my adult wisdom. However, in keeping with the Kidizens’ philosophy, I don’t tell her that she shouldn’t be using bigger pieces at the top. I simply leave a handful of random pieces next to her and tell her that perhaps she may consider building a different spire. I also give her a choice that if she just wants to build the tower taller, without aspire, she can do that as well. But she calmly replies – “It isn’t finished yet. It needs the spire. But, perhaps I should use these skinny pieces to act as the tall top.” And there, she has found the perfect, creative solution, having learned that the weight and shape of her original spire was causing an imbalance to the integrity of the rest of the well-built structure.
Kidizens gives learners plenty of opportunities in Best Lego Summer Camps in the SF Bay Area to experiment, explore, try, fail, fail again, rethink, change, rethink and succeed. Or to not, necessarily, succeed.
Along the way, the stakes and game dynamics change, and learners encounter an unfamiliar environment in which they must make wise choices. Our kidizens’ journey is not about the pursuit of an imagined goal as an end itself, but on engaging the children into the overall experience of building and living in their city. The goal of the play is to enjoy the journey, which given the intrinsic fragility of LEGOs, is filled with umpteen number of trials and ‘failures’, and so becomes quite engaging and intriguing. Students thrive and build resilience & leadership as a result of mistakes, or failures. Playing within the context of a simulated societal framework, learners are constantly experimenting with newer concepts without bringing in many pre-conceptions. The environment’s degrees of creative freedom, with LEGO as an expression medium allows them to try new ideas, challenge others’ concepts, recalibrate, and discover new solutions constantly. As such, the children grow as independent thinkers developing the confidence that Kidizens aims to instill in each child: “I’m not learning to surrender my will to a pre-ordained chain of command. I’m being constantly encouraged by others around me, often younger than me, collaborating on newer, many times infeasible or even completely absurd ideas; I’m learning to think for myself, building my own LEGO model…and over time, a mental edifice of new concepts and my own beliefs.”