Over the course of seven months, I worked through the design thinking process several times with the Frazer Center, a nonprofit organization in Druid Hills that provides an inclusive preschool to kids with and without developmental disabilities, and provides an adult program to encourage adults with disabilities to explore their community and grow. Our mission was to create an outdoor classroom in their 39 acres of mature forest, help redirect their curriculum and create lasting relationships with other institutions on a similar journey.

During this process, I went through several rounds of empathy interviews and site visits with Frazer and other institutions with similar goals. I conducted hundreds of hours on research on rules and regulations for outdoor classrooms and playgrounds, and I researched what is most conducive for learning in an outdoor space. During the Frazer project, I designed and led a design thinking flash lab with faculty from the Frazer center and administrators of other forward-thinking institutions, that we had held empathy interviews with before, in order to form lasting relationships and brainstorm about the future of education. Through planning the flash lab we were able to help the Frazer center create a network of schools for them to have a continued relationship with these institutions. The Frazer Center has proceeded to use parts of our work to transform their campus.

When originally joined ID it was hard for me to find motivation to produce well thought-out work because I had no reason to try. But when working with the Frazer Center, I was able to work for someone and meet the people that I would be changing the lives of, which is an experience I can say is truly unique and motivational.

 

Author: Claire is a senior at Mount Vernon who is entering her third year in Innovation Diploma

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