Perhaps you’re familiar with the poem All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten. It’s a classic of American infantilism, that innocence, heart, and “values” are more important than thinking. I’m all for the sharing and wonder celebrated in the original, but it’s notable the teachers are conspicuously absent. They are an invisible benevolent force, a manifestation of good-natured fairness guiding the core values of the room — not inappropriate for poem written by a minister. When power and authority are invisible, it makes sense that it all seems normal and natural.
I found this not to be the case. Having just put my daughter through Kindergarten, her first engagements with teachers and classroom discipline were hardly invisible. In fact, navigating power and order was a hallmark of the year. As such, it was interesting to draw out other lessons from the experiences of these little people engaged with a bureaucracy for the very first time. So here are other things to know I learned from Kindergarten:
As a parent, I’ve had a very hard time finding progressive children’s books for my toddler. Innosanto Nagara felt the same way, so he and the Design Action Collective decided to do something about it. They are designing a picture book for radical tots — a full-fledged, pro-social and environmental justice ABC book. I've backed this on Kickstarter and you should too!
Update: September 13, 2012. The book is funded and in production! You can order it now at aisforactivist.com
It’s a design emergency. Road trauma is the number one cause of death and injury for children in every country of the world. And crashes disproportionately affect the poor with 9 out of 10 deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries.
While the engineers huddle over traffic and urban planning, there’s one monster big enough for the educational front.
Your lovable pal Grover has taken on the role of Global Road Safety Ambassador in support of the United Nations’s Decade of Action for Road Safety.
Ambassador Grover stars in a series of PSA’s developed by Sesame Workshop and the Global Road Safety Partnership to accompany a Road Safety Education Framework for educators, parents, and communities.
Inspired by the success of the red ribbon for HIV/AIDS and the white band against global poverty, the Decade of Action group is also promoting a yellow Road Safety Tag to increase awareness of the issue. Sports figures, celebrities, and politicians have been spotted wearing the tag.
Last month, GOOD posted this write-up about an increasing number of graduate design programs focused design for social impact. There’s more to say on this, but in the meantime, no need to wait for grad school — why not start a student-run Design for America studio on your own campus? DfA’s previous projects focus on childhood diabetes, hospital-acquired infections, cafeteria water conservation, and children with post-war stress.