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Our Boston: Voices from Kindergarten

Our Boston Kit Castagne 1

Image: Kit Castagne

Mayor Michelle Wu recently asked Boston Public School kindergarteners: “What ideas do you have about construction that could make Boston a safer, fairer, and more interesting place for children?” The Mayor’s question came in the form of a letter that was sent to mark the culmination of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) kindergarten curriculum unit on construction. The construction unit is part of Focus on K2, a curriculum developed by BPS educators that combines current research on teaching and learning with attention to high standards for achievement.

The value of being a citizen and a member of a community is explored throughout Focus on K2, in part, through the integration of authentic learning opportunities with members of the Boston community. The unit on Construction is one of the four extended units that make up Focus on K2. Others include Our Community, Animals and Habitats, and Our Earth.

The BSA worked with the Department of Early Childhood to design and integrate a lesson on architecture/design into the unit. Since 2018, volunteer architects have visited BPS kindergarten classrooms to bring the lesson to life, share about architecture, and lead a hands-on design activity with the students. During the visit and throughout the unit, students develop skills integral to the design process—analysis, collaboration, creative thinking, and problem-solving. Such skills allow even our youngest citizens—kindergarten students—to contribute potential solutions to the challenges they see facing our city.

By inviting kids to think about how design can solve problems that affect their families and neighbors, we are also preparing them to create the habit of community engagement, which we believe results in a richer social and urban fabric built around ideas of collaboration, innovation, design excellence, and inclusion.

The Mayor’s letter to the kindergartners continued, asking students to take their time answering the question, research their idea, and talk with family and friends before designing and building. Afterward, their teachers, along with some returning volunteer architects, guided them through a designing and building process.

Participating classrooms will showcase their ideas and resulting models to the public. Models will remain on view through May 20. A celebratory event with Boston Public School educators, students, and their families will take place on Saturday, May 13. Models will remain on view through May 20.

K-12 Design Education Support

Our Boston and other BSA K-12 Design Education programs are supported by members of the Provoking Change Legacy Circle: