A charity creative game for SOS village inhabitants in Russian town of St-Petersburg.

There are a lot of inspiring examples all around the world on applying LEGO Serious Play to business tasks. But what about serious play with LEGO bricks for children?  Most of adults think of kids’ games as of something for pleasure and “not serious”. None of us ever thought of taking a kid on an important directors’ board meeting or invite them to participate at political decision making processes. We even don’t involve kids into a process of designing spaces or for their own educational processes, which aim to “teach” them. This time around we decided to get the children all the knowledge, ability and inspiration to make a school of their dream by LEGO education tools.

We built the serious game around the basic process of design thinking and empathy and rolled it out at one of the SOS Villages who aim to provide disadvantaged children with due out-of-home care. After icebreaking session we watched some LEGO education videos and showed some approaches, how to build “real-life” models.

SOS Village - A Child Presenting Why She Does Not Like School

SOS Village – A Child Presenting Why She Does Not Like School

The next step was mutual interviewing “Why don’t we like to learn?” We got really big maps with more than 50 varieties of different reasons, why children don’t like to learn or why they don’t enjoy going to school. All the answers and problems were very sincere and open. And it was really challenging for adults who were present at the game. The most astonishing for the guys was our statement, that teachers don’t have all the answers on “how to teach you” and need your active help to rebuild the process of education with your heads and hands on. By the way, at the mixed group were kids from different ages – from 5 up to 16, working closely with each other. This was a new experience for them too.

SOS Village - Why we Don't Like Our School

SOS Village – Why we Don’t Like Our School

After the problem identification phase we moved directly to building up a “Dream School” model, where all the problems might be solved. This was not an easy journey to get the attention and interest on the high level of all the kids in a hall, but together with our facilitators team we did our best to master the challenge. Through their models children presented clear and direct vision of how the school and learning process might look like.

One of the models was built up avoiding any of the mini-figures, which stand for the teachers (!). The next one was a school building model, which levels are located in a more sophisticated and interconnected format between each other. The others created a model with big halls “for everything to do” and no classrooms.

SOS Village - A Proud Kid with his Dream School Built of Lego Bricks

SOS Village – A Proud Kid with his Dream School Built of Lego Bricks

The LEGO session was not the answer to all questions and problems, which are essential for kids. However it was a real opportunity to undertake a concrete and immediate action towards creating a world to live, learn and work together!

Our greatest thanks to Zhanna Zhirnova and Andrey Troitskiy, SAP CIS social innovators, who made this visit possible!

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