CHILDREN ARE NATURAL INVENTORS
We work with children’s natural interests and imagination, rather than against them. To encourage inventiveness, our classes have a free structure that emphasizes peer-to-peer learning and individualized lesson plans. Kids have the ability to make anything they put their minds to–we simply give them the opportunity and structure.
FAILURE IS AN OPPORTUNITY
Trial and error is exciting! Using the philosophy of “failing fast,” which is adopted by many entrepreneurs, kids in Koko NYC classes learn to accept that failure is a part of creating something new. Fail as quickly as possible, address the mistakes, pivot, and figure out how to make the project more successful. We go into each project with the knowledge that not everything will work. Rather than dwelling on failures, we embrace the opportunity to experiment and find new and different ways to be successful. While creating is important, fixing problems is a necessary skill. As with technology, the most complicated part of writing software is not the writing, but debugging and figuring out what went wrong, and coming up with a fix. If it’s perfect the first time, you’ve followed instructions. If it needs to be fixed, you have an opportunity to create your own path.
TINKERING IS KEY TO FUTURE INNOVATION
Kids have a natural impulse to tinker. While tinkering is often perceived as an unserious hobby, we see it as a way for kids to hone their interests and master a variety of skills. Like Steve Jobs creating Apple in a garage, we recognize that amazing things can happen through tinkering! Koko NYC emerged from Open Source Gallery, which itself began in a converted garage in Brooklyn. By tinkering and making small improvements to their inventions and creations, kids are not only working towards improving their project, but also sharpening their critical thinking skills. Koko NYC introduces kids to artistic concepts that we explore in programs at Open Source Gallery, focusing on the idea of art as a process. Our programs deliberately leave the end goal open so that kids can follow their creative instincts to accomplish their own goals. Because every project is new, teachers are always energized, eager to help kids realize their vision!
COLLABORATION IS KEY TO PROGRESS
We offer a place outside of home and school where children can relate to one another,working together as builders, innovators and artists. Together, our kids create new strategies and experiment with new techniques that they can share with their peers. Collaboration between kids gives them a space where they can work on self-directed projects, receiving advice and criticism from their peers rather than adults.
EVERY CHILD IS UNIQUE
Koko NYC programs are made for kids of all ages, backgrounds and learning abilities. Every child has unique ideas and interests that they can contribute to projects. Our students inform our approach and the workshops we offer and we are always learning from them.
IDEAS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN TECHNIQUE
First and foremost, kids should focus on making their ideas come to life. We want to challenge kids in our program to improve in their technique, however, there is no one right way to do things. No idea is too big. We recognize that they are learning many of these skills for the first time. Kids should explore a variety of directions and methods to accomplish their goals. The process of finding your own way is more important than honing craftsmanship.