Oviedo, Florida. Young Innovators Academy hosted a visit from the Mount Vernon Institute of Innovation. Mount Vernon School is a private school in Atlanta, Georgia. It is also considered one of the most innovative schools in the nation. The school has been leading the way in K-12 education. They focus on exploring the possibilities of design thinking and innovation inside the classrooms.
During their visit, Mount Vernon consultants Jim Tiffin and Kate Canady shared their experiences. They did so with the Young Innovators Academy teaching staff and administrators.
“Our organizations share the same mission of transforming education by empowering educators. We understand the importance of sharing experiences,” says Marnie Forestieri, CEO and Founder of Young Innovators Academy. Young Innovators Academy pioneers the introduction of Design thinking in preschool as a framework for curriculum design to practice empathy at an early age in young learners.
“I am so proud of what we have created and developed for our young learners. This especially applies to the curriculum,” said Forestieri.
“We believe in empowering learners to change their world. This involves placing empathy and social-emotional development at the core of our program.” Empathy should be the foundation for STEAM learning. Teaching STEM subjects without empathy leads to a disconnected problem-solving approach.
We need doctors, engineers, STEM, and all other careers that can solve real problems for someone else. These professions play a crucial role in building empathy. They also understand end-users to design practical solutions, creating a better world for all.
The Young Innovators Academy team is in the process of writing design thinking challenges for preschool teachers. The lesson plans are implemented inside our lab school in Oviedo and teachers give feedback to improve the lessons.
The Young Innovators curriculum team pioneered the introduction of STEAM concepts, curriculum, and books for early childhood professionals and parents, including Gryphon Houses’ award-winning book Simple Steam, Stem Play, and the Toys When I Grow Up. We believe that curriculum, products, and teaching practices have to evolve as we implement lesson plans in our classrooms based on teacher feedback and observations, says Forestieri. As we learn more from neuroscience research and our experiences as practitioners, we understand how the learner’s systems activate and the role of emotions as an essential component of learning. We understand the importance of incorporating opportunities to communicate feelings during learning tasks because how we feel affects our knowledge, the decisions we make, and how we treat others. That is the reason our writing team evolves to integrate social-emotional learning and design thinking across all learning domains including our STEAM classes.
Design Thinking is a creative problem-solving process with a human-centered approach developed at Stanford University.
Young Innovators Academy is a purpose-driven technology company that connects licensed childcare providers with parents looking for high-quality educational childcare programs.
Their provider network will be introduced in April 2020; however, specific details about the network are not yet available.