All children are born curious citizens – they are constantly learning, questioning just about everything. Inquiry is a way to enrich the child’s connection to the world so they grow to become active, engaged effective citizens.

Our work starts with this premise and encourages children to learn through inquiry, to grow authentically, and in the process, become more self-reliant, engaged, cooperative citizens – critical thinkers and doers. We focus our work in elementary school : often the first community in which the child is expected to be a good citizen. 

We work with teachers to support a learner-centered, inquiry based strategy that guides students to see them selves as fully capable human beings amid a community of fully capable human beings. We encourage children to recognize how they may affect positive change in all their communities and to realize how it nurtures them in return.

This is the promise of democracy.

  The Learning Wall is an Inquiring Minds innovation that cultivates individual and group inquiry processes in the classroom.  Ms. Teagle teaches Kindergarten at PS20. She is so proud of her students for creating their (pre literate, highly visual) Learning Wall based on the essential question: "How am I unique?" This process aids the teacher in understanding how each child is developing. At the same time it helps the child see him or herself as an individual and also citizen in their community. Even at this young age they 'own' their wall according to their teacher.

The Learning Wall is an Inquiring Minds innovation that cultivates individual and group inquiry processes in the classroom. Ms. Teagle teaches Kindergarten at PS20. She is so proud of her students for creating their (pre literate, highly visual) Learning Wall based on the essential question: "How am I unique?" This process aids the teacher in understanding how each child is developing. At the same time it helps the child see him or herself as an individual and also citizen in their community. Even at this young age they 'own' their wall according to their teacher.

  At the end of the year, Ms. Teagle's class had made the Learning Wall into a savanna. The children decided how to create the wall with guidance from Ms. Teagle who outlined the elements which the children colored in. They learned about how nature survived in a changing climate. For instance they learned that the Banyan tree held the water needed in the arid months. The children labeled everything.

At the end of the year, Ms. Teagle's class had made the Learning Wall into a savanna. The children decided how to create the wall with guidance from Ms. Teagle who outlined the elements which the children colored in. They learned about how nature survived in a changing climate. For instance they learned that the Banyan tree held the water needed in the arid months. The children labeled everything.

By helping kids cultivate navigation skills as they learn at an early age, they  approach critical problems with greater confidence and agility. And when we help the teacher shift her/his role to trusted illuminator, the student is free to become his/her own teacher within the class community. This shift to a learner-centered classroom may ultimately improve the entire school culture. Aren’t the students the most valuable, yet most overlooked, resource in any school?

All of our work embraces an iterative, explorative design process where risks are taken on the path to learning. We believe "Failure is the best teacher: Success is the best reward."

  Inquiring Minds started redesigning a classroom in PS 20 in Brooklyn over the summer of 2014 . Here we are in front of our first classroom innovative tool, the Learning Wall. Its pin-able, write-able and sound deadening. Based on a user-experience process we worked with students and teachers to understand what a classroom needs to be to nurture learning .Later in the year, we helped 3rd, 4th and 5th graders helped pick their new classroom furniture.

Inquiring Minds started redesigning a classroom in PS 20 in Brooklyn over the summer of 2014. Here we are in front of our first classroom innovative tool, the Learning Wall. Its pin-able, write-able and sound deadening. Based on a user-experience process we worked with students and teachers to understand what a classroom needs to be to nurture learning .Later in the year, we helped 3rd, 4th and 5th graders helped pick their new classroom furniture.

  Kid Reporters decided to hold an election for the Rising Star Award, making a ballot, ballot boxes and posters to broadcast that all 4th and 5th graders would vote. Afterwards they wrote about the process and the outcome. Most award winners are determined by adults. The kids wanted to decide among their peers who deserved the Rising Star Awards because they see their peers in a different way than adults do.

Kid Reporters decided to hold an election for the Rising Star Award, making a ballot, ballot boxes and posters to broadcast that all 4th and 5th graders would vote. Afterwards they wrote about the process and the outcome. Most award winners are determined by adults. The kids wanted to decide among their peers who deserved the Rising Star Awards because they see their peers in a different way than adults do.

Kid Reporters meets once a week with Inquiring Minds, in a classroom, afterschool. These 5th grade form a team and decide on issues or topics they want to communicate in the school newsletter. Together they use a portable Learning Wall to help figure out the plan and who’s doing what, when. Kids are photographers, editors, writers, illustrators. The kids vote on how to proceed. In general no adults have a say but are there to gently facilitate cooperative, collaborative, creative thinking and doing. This activity is an important civic engagement that not only helps the children mature and expand their thinking but helps the whole school see that kids have good ideas too!

  KIds' Council is conducted during soft learning time - after school - were children can run the meetings with a facilitator. Pictured here is Dr. Rebecca Wiseheart whose research focus is on children with special needs and who was their guest at a meeting.

KIds' Council is conducted during soft learning time - after school - were children can run the meetings with a facilitator. Pictured here is Dr. Rebecca Wiseheart whose research focus is on children with special needs and who was their guest at a meeting.

We find upper elementary school students often feel they have a legacy to leave their school better off for the 'littler kids'. Helping kids improve the school brings out the best in children – and adults. It helps cultivate a growth mindset. 

Kids' Council is another Inquiring Minds' innovation originally developed to be able to hear from all students in the classroom. It evolved to students creating a representative democracy in a 4th/5th grade afterschool program that circles back to the classroom during morning meeting.

Looking for something? With the cooperation of exceptional elementary public and private school educators and parents we have been graciously welcomed into schools and classrooms to help meet the challenges they and their students face firsthand. It's this extended access that has allowed us to innovate to help kids evolve their critical thinking and doing minds: To become cooperators, iterative strategists equipped with the skills they need to succeed and to help their communities thrive.