Playing to win

Harnessing imagination - partnership with LEGO® Education

Central to the GEMS philosophy is our appreciation of the roles played by imagination and experimentation in not only the creation of ideas but their absorption. We're always looking for new ways to help students develop their understanding and are quick to integrate the latest technology and research into our learning environments. We are particularly excited, then, about two recent developments resulting from our partnerships with LEGO® Education.

At GEMS Cambridge International School in Nairobi, we have launched Kenya’s first LEGO® Innovation Studio while, at The Kindergarten Starters in Dubai, the inaugural year of the KGS LEGO® Lab is well underway. Both centres are aimed at fostering 21st century skills such as creativity, collaboration and critical thinking.

LEGO® Innovation Studios provide a range of resources that enable our educators to deliver projects and lessons focused on the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) that are important for so many careers in today’s rapidly advancing world. With a broad base of study modules aimed at assisting students from entry level through to sixth form, the Innovation Studio at our Nairobi school is designed to encourage students to be passionate about learning.

David McLaughlin, Principal at GEMS Cambridge International School, says the decision to partner with LEGO® Education was based on the desire to see GEMS students positioned at the centre of future global innovation and change. It is imperative, he says, that the school prepares students to promote positive transformation in a world that is increasingly reliant upon fresh technological innovation.

The LEGO® Lab at The Kindergarten Starters is aimed at helping students aged 8-10 develop key skills through advanced play involving activities such as building and programming robots. As well as being an excellent way of enabling children to learn problem-solving and technical skills, this also helps them to build confidence and understand the value of teamwork.

The Mindstorms® kits used by students have their origins in LEGO®’s partnership with MIT’s prestigious Media Laboratory and incorporate technological features like motion sensors and programmable movement. Althea Venkateshwar, Headmistress at The Kindergarten Starters, believes the kits help students to make meaningful cross-curricular connections, providing an exciting platform for budding scientists and engineers to ‘discover their “eureka” moments.’

Asha Alexander, Principal at The Kindergarten Starters, sees learning through play as significant not only in terms of preparing students for future careers but, when delivered within a structured and - importantly - enjoyable framework, in enabling them to develop a host of key life skills. Alongside its traditional academic focus the school is experimenting with timetabling dedicated creativity and play sessions. The LEGO® Lab, Asha believes, is something that will help students to view the learning environment as a positive and fun world where wonder is met with discovery.