The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA

Creativity and Design Program

The Center for Creativity & Design

In 2022, Fay opened its Center for Creativity and Design (CC&D) a 7,000 square-foot facility at the heart of campus that serves as the hub of our Creativity & Design program. Our Creativity and Design program was launched in 2013 and focuses on the design thinking process, an empathy-based, solution-oriented approach to solving problems.

This state-of-the-art space features modular, user-friendly spaces that are outfitted specifically for creative problem-solving among students and faculty. Students and faculty have access to sophisticated tools for making creative ideas and designs a reality, including CNC routers, laser cutters, and 3D printers.

Most importantly, the new CC&D positions creativity and design at the heart of Fay’s campus, fostering collaboration among faculty and reinforcing design thinking as an integral component of our academic program.

Learning on the Leading Edge: Fay's Creativity and Design Program

Fay’s Creativity and Design curriculum challenges students to employ a powerful approach known as design thinking as they delve into hands-on projects that foster creativity and deepen understanding across subject areas.

Originally developed at Stanford University’s (the Institute of Design), design thinking offers an empathy-based, solution-oriented approach to solving problems. The process focuses on identifying and understanding the problem, generating and testing solutions, soliciting feedback, and making revisions, in a constant cycle of improvement.

The skills involved in thinking like a designer complement the enduring skills that are part of Fay’s traditional curriculum. Students learn to collaborate with others, think creatively as they generate solutions to problems, and face challenges with ingenuity and resilience.

Read More: Why Is Creative Problem Solving the Most Important Skill?

Student and Alumni Voices

Hear what current and former Fay students have to say about why they love Fay's Creativity and Design program and how it has inspired them in their work after Fay.
    • Student and Alumni Voices - Creativity and Design at Fay

Curriculum Overview

Fay’s Creativity and Design program spans Kindergarten through grade 9, with a curriculum that builds creative problem-solving skills. In Kindergarten through grade 2, Creativity and Design projects are integrated across the disciplines. In grades 3-9, the Creativity and Design program is formalized in departmental courses that are part of each student’s weekly schedule.
Digital Literacy (Gr 3-4) Students in grade three and four build on the foundation of the design process learned in Primary School while also learning how to be responsible digital citizens. Students learn the tools of technology, such as the Google Suite of products, and how to use technology and social media responsibly during the fall term. As the year progresses they work on design projects that are integrated across the curriculum applying both technology and the design process. Integration across disciplines enables the students to demonstrate their understanding of major curricular objectives in each discipline. Digital Literacy meets twice per six-day rotation.

Principles of Design (Gr 5-6)   Principles of Design classes meet once per rotation in grades 5 and 6. The course introduces foundational concepts and skills in preparation for Creators courses in Upper School, including ideation, brainstorming, and iteration; hand drawing and CAD design; logo design; sustainable design; and the relationships between environment, culture, and design.
Creators Class (Gr 7-8)    In this required course for grades 7 and 8, students learn to design with CAD/CAM systems, explore basic electronics and programming of circuit boards, and do digital fabrication with laser cutters, vinyl cutters, and 3D printing technologies.

Robotics (Gr 8-9)   This elective, open to grades 8 and 9,
provides a comprehensive overview of the fundamental concepts and skills needed to understand and create robots. Students learn about the basics of robotics, including the principles of mechanical design and the role of sensors and actuators, and they design, build ,and program a robot.

Coding for Apps and Games (Gr 8-9)   In this elective, which is open to grades 8 and 9, students learn the basics of coding languages such as Python, JavaScript, Swift, and Java. They will explore the process of designing an app, from conceptualizing an idea to implementing functionality and testing for user experience.

Advanced Design Portfolio (Gr 9)   This ninth-grade elective is considered a full academic course and is graded on the same scale as the core courses of math, English, science, history, and world languages. Through a series of design challenges, students learn to identify a problem and the target market, generate design specs, and build and test prototypes.Instead of textbooks, students each have their own toolboxes!
Read More: Build With Me: Creativity & Design in the Primary School

Real-World Partnerships

Each year, our student designers enrolled in our Advanced 3D Design class engage in real-world design projects in partnership with experts at local and national companies. Students are presented with design briefs; then, in collaboration with their mentors, they generate design solutions and make formal presentations. Recent project partners have included Converse, Bose, Mazda, Barnes & Noble, FatFace, and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Read more:
Designed to Impress: Partnerships with Mazda and Bose
Fit For a Kid: Barnes & Noble Challenge

Creativity & Design - Program Examples

Beebots   Can you problem-solve in more than one language? Our Kindergarteners can! Fay students in Kindergarten through grade two study French and Spanish, each for half of the year. Kindergarteners practice French numbers and direction words (forward, back, left, right) by programming Beebots (small robots shaped like bees) to traverse a maze. Watch >>
Statistical Servants  Service learning meets creativity and design in this Pre-Algebra project, where seventh graders focus on a specific aspect of poverty, such as homelessness or food insecurity, and then tie data and statistics to an actionable proposal. One recent proposal led to a canned food drive, with the donations going to a local food bank. Read more >>
Pentominoes  Fourth graders use pentominoes—sets of twelve polygon pieces each composed of five equal-sized squares—to explore congruence and spatial relationships, two essential underpinnings of geometry. Students design their own pentomino puzzles using 2D design software and create their puzzles in the Innovation Lab. Read more >>
Sunglasses & Sound  Ninth graders in Advanced 3D Design partnered with Bose on a project to design sunglasses with built-in speakers. Students worked closely with their Bose mentors to articulate their designs and then made formal presentations back at Bose headquarters. Read more >>
Earthquake-Proof  This science project, which complements the sixth graders’ study of Earth’s structures, challenges students to explore the causes and results of earthquakes. Students design and build balsa-wood towers, test their stability on an earthquake table, and improve their designs.
Wacky Racers  In this hands-on exploration of Newtonian mechanics, second graders use shoeboxes, string, wheels, weights, and a host of everyday supplies to design and build cars that can roll up a ramp without going over the edge. Read more >>
Clock Design  Fay third graders use 2D design software to design analog clocks, cut them on the laser cutter, and fit them with hands and motors. The clock themes run the gamut, from a Superbowl clock, to an asteroid hurtling toward earth and even a clock shaped like a chicken! These essential tools help students build number sense and practice computation strategies as they solve time problems. Read more >>
Urban Design  In Diagnosing the Modern World, ninth graders take on the challenge of redesigning a major urban system—such as transportation or waste management—for a world city. After in-depth research, students create a visual representation of their solution to the problem. Final presentations range from cardboard structures created in the Innovation Lab to virtual structures in Minecraft. Read more >>
The Perfect Chair  In a partnership project with Barnes & Noble, students in Advanced 3D Design designed and built comfortable cardboard chairs for some extremely challenging clients—Fay’s own first graders! Ninth graders interviewed students to learn about desired design features and then improved their prototypes based on client feedback. Read more >>
“I love Creators Class—it has been one of my most valuable experiences at Fay. I enjoy sharing my passion for design with others, and I’ve learned that it’s not about coming up with one great design. I should generate as many ideas as I can.” – Seventh grader

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