Last month in October, our Singapore team had an exciting trip to Japan – We were there to meet our global team members to exchange ideas! With the first VIVISTOP started in Japan about 3 years ago, the VIVITA family has grown to span 7 countries and counting. Amazing!
All of us in Team VIVITA share a common vision to make the world a better place by reimagining learning environments. We also share common principles of having no curriculum and advocating ownership and creative freedom. However, there are no fix rules on how VIVISTOPs should be. All of us are encouraged to do things differently and try new initiatives. So it was interesting to meet our team members from other countries to know what they were doing to learn from them. It is also an opportunity to start some cross-country projects!
Fun things first, I was really impressed by how creative and playful our global team is! We started our 2-day retreat with a “VIVITA Yoga” invented by our friends from Lithuania. They made our daily routine at VIVISTOP – holding glue guns, tidying up the place, thinking of ideas, etc. – into yoga poses!
We also had a food art team bonding session. From a variety of colorful ingredients and sauces, each team created a food art at represents VIVITA. We were having fun with food, stacking food up and drawing on the blank canvas expressing our creativity.
The work below represents VIVITA as a garden, an environment that makes a variety of living things come to life. Yes, that is what we aim to do for our children!
On a more formal note, the global team also shared with each other the interesting projects that we were working on with the children.
One of those that I love is the VIVITABOOKS project from the Japan team. Over a period of about 6 months, they worked with a group of children to publish a real picture book from the children’s idea. By collaborating with various companies and professional editors, they brought the children through a full process from ideation, editing, choosing the paper and printing. Just like how picture books are produced in the real world. Love the ideas of the books itself too! “Strawberry’s Counterattack”, “What do Bananas Want to Be” and “Strange Sushi Restaurant”. The Japan team is trying to make these books real commercial products, together with the children. I am certain that the children involved learned so much during the journey. They would have had a lot of fun turning their idea into reality too.
Other cool projects included getting children to co-design a new shopping cart with one of the largest chains of supermarkets in the Nordics done by our Estonian team, having children make a whole eating experience from cooking the food to making plates with pottery that was done by our Korean team. Our team from Singapore shared our project of making a modular furniture system with the children. Many of our overseas team members liked it, and very soon our furniture will be in various countries!
Since it was rare for all of us from different countries to gather in one place, we also spent time discussing how we can work together. We discussed topics such as best practices in designing a conducive environment for creativity, and how to be better facilitators. Just like our space, the discussion sessions were free flow! The crews can join any topics they are interested in, initiate new topics if they feel that its important, and change groups halfway if they want to as well. It was vibrant and full of energy, and it is hard to stop people from talking. There will be more and more elements and projects linking VIVISTOP Orchard with other stops going forward!
Japan is a cool source of inspiration in art and culture, and the global team took the opportunity to soak in some of them. We visited the Aichi Triennale and saw this amazing art playground that is co-created with children. Once you step in, cardboards surround you! From tents to slides, hats to houses, everything is made from cardboard. Children expressed their creativity and build all these objects, from big to small, in the space. Creativity does not have to be fanciful. But giving it space to blossom is important.
We also visited Rinne, a group of entrepreneurs who are trying to start an upcycling movement in Japan. They opened a bar where people can drop in for a drink, and at the same time make something with upcycled materials, such as wood and leather cut-outs and colorful plastic sheets. Being VIVITA crews who love making things, we were so focused on the making and almost forgot about the drinks! The end product was of very good quality too that could be sold.
All in all, we had a wonderful time exchanging ideas with the rest of the VIVITA global team. We were also inspired by the many things that we saw. We made friends in different countries who are passionate about pursuing the same vision in creating amazing learning environments for children! Looking forward to bring some of these amazing experiences to our members here in Singapore and beyond.
At VIVITA we are continuing to build a global community of creators, engineers, and innovators who is passionate about changing how learning should be. Contact us if you are keen to be part of the team!