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  • Writer's pictureHermen Lutje Berenbroek

Encouraging co-creation and engagement at an early age

Seeing how effective visual thinking can be at an early age is incredible. I recently arranged a one-hour workshop for my 9-year-old son's class. The workshop aimed to introduce drawing as a tool for exploring challenges and finding solutions. The workshop lasted an hour and began with a short drawing lesson to convey that drawing is more than artistic expression and can help organize and express ideas.

After the lesson, I asked each student to draw one thing that they found most challenging at school this year. The students came up with various challenges, obvious ones like math and homework and less obvious ones like concentrating in class and even falling asleep at night. We grouped the challenges into main categories and formed groups of 5-6 students to work on finding solutions for each challenge.

I had prepared a visual canvas for this occasion, which I named the Learning Mountain, where each mountain symbolized a challenge. The students had to work in teams to visualize different solutions to conquer their mountain. This exercise helped them work together and ideate with an open mind. There was no right or wrong answer, and it reinforced the idea that sometimes there are multiple solutions to a challenge.

Even though I was unsure if my plan was too ambitious for a one-hour workshop with 9-year-olds, the students did great and immediately understood all the instructions! Seeing the students' confidence in presenting their visuals to the rest of the class at the end was amazing. This experience proved that drawing and visual collaboration can engage everyone in the room and help them present their ideas effectively.

Working with children is a beautiful experience as their young and vibrant minds demonstrate the true impact of visual aids. Their level of engagement is instantly noticeable. It's important to realize that drawing is not just a pastime for children but for all of us. This skill is instrumental in settings where difficulties become complicated, such as in teams and organizations. So why not pick up a pen and start looking at problems differently?


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