The project: I designed the game Cre8 & Collabor8 for younger children, ages 9 to 11. There's a board, one game piece, and two groups of three. The groups move their piece along the board together to reach the same goal of collaborating and working together through topic cards. The topic cards contain topics that allow players to share common knowledge about a topic to help them connect, have conversations with each other and make friends. For example, Derek Jeter was one of the topic cards, and a player can use the card as an opportunity to share their knowledge of Derek Jeter in order to have a conversation about baseball, and specifically the Yankees. Through the game, children can learn about the world around them, learn how to converse with each other and feel more comfortable doing so.
The inspiration: I didn't know where to begin the process. It was a lot to think about and my mind jumped to my passion for working with younger children. I was inspired by the job I have on the weekends where I help assist coaches in a basketball clinic. I knew that I wanted my project to be directed around children and the importance of play.
The process: I gathered all different resources and website articles in the realm of psychology and I interviewed original game designers. Talking to them was extremely helpful and gave me clarity on what I wanted to focus on and next steps to take. After I created the game, I was able to teach it to a fourth grade Spanish class in the Lower School to determine if this game would work, if the instructions were laid out in a clear way, and to get a sense of the dynamic of how it was played. I was feeling nervous about how these students would react, but it was such a joy to see them interact with my game. I wanted it to be the best game it could be, and I received helpful feedback, which was a balance of things that I needed to work on and things that I could take away from the game. I had a really good Junior Workshop advisor who was by my side every step of the way. He would ask me detailed questions that would help me unpack my reasoning for what I was trying to accomplish and the goal I was trying to reach.
What I learned: When I think of Junior Workshop, it's all about the process – the steps to take and having patience in yourself to go beyond your comfort zone and challenge yourself. I've come to realize that this game can be played with anybody, at any age. I think everyone is at their own level of understanding of what's going on in the world. Cre8 & Collabor8 is a great resource to learn about the world, and to learn how to interact with others.
What's next: This project highlighted that psychology is a specific interest of mine, one that I may pursue in college. I'm thinking about potentially becoming an elementary school teacher. Through Junior Workshop and the game I created, I have realized that I'm very good at working with children and that this is something I enjoy doing. I think seeing my strengths in that realm, I could put them to good use in the future.