We believe designers change the world. At the earliest ages, we begin to cultivate the skills of a design thinker in each child. We teach children to observe and question their world, build empathy muscles, experiment with prototypes and iterate. At Mount Vernon, we infuse design thinking-- human-centered problem solving--throughout a student’s experience. With an emphasis on collaboration, creativity, and empathy, students engage in the D.E.E.P. process--Discover, Emphasize, Experiment, Produce--a methodology aligned with Stanford University’s Institute of Design. While Mount Vernon has practiced design thinking for many years, numerous companies, known for their innovative vision, are embracing this approach in the workplace. Companies like Apple, GE, IBM and Kaiser Permanente are just to a name a few. For more information, please visit: http://dschool.stanford.edu/
We value each child’s ability to reflect - both deeply and creatively- over their knowledge and observations. Visible Thinking Routines, developed by the Graduate School for Education at Harvard University, are structures to make the abstract task of “thinking” concrete. These routines allow students to see their thoughts through words and pictures by creating various pathways that help to foster ideas. Each routine has a few simple steps and becomes a tool in a thinker’s learning toolbox. For example, some thinking routines help introduce an unfamiliar topic, some help the student consider multiple perspectives, and some seek to gain empathy. With regular practice across multiple disciplines, students learn when which tool--- inquiry, reasoning, exploration, reflection-- is needed in different situations.. For more information, please visit http://www.pz.harvard.edu/projects/visible-thinking
We believe in a student-centered approach to school in which children learn through the experience of solving an open-ended problem. Teachers, external experts, and other students guide learners to identify, research, and solve a real world, relevant challenge using evidence to create a final project or presentation. Students learn both thinking strategies and domain knowledge.