Riverside School in India is based on the idea of ‘I can’. The school focuses on helping children of different ages to search independently for solutions to social problems. This involves a four-step process: 1) feel – during this stage the children establish an internal reference to the problem; 2) imagine – this stage focuses on developing ideas about how things could change; 3) do – the children implement specific changes; and 4) share – the children inspire others to follow their lead. For example, before the children began developing possible solutions and approaches to the issue of child labour, they spent eight hours making incense in order to gain an emotional understanding of the issue.
The school’s motto ‘I can’ assumes that children can make an essential contribution to solving social problems. However, this is not merely being done to prepare pupils for future responsibilities in the world, but to provide them with the space they need to change the world today. At the same time, the children also take on responsibility within the school community such as by teaching their parents. Moreover, the school places a lot of emphasis on (self-)reflection. The school led to the establishment of Design for Change, which helps implement the idea of ‘I can’ in other schools. Until now, a total of 32,000 schools throughout India have provided their pupils with a week off in order to work on an issue/an idea that affects their environment. In addition, Riverside School runs the Riverside Learning Centre in which teachers from different schools work together to create healthy learning environments based on common sense.