The Empathy Toy in Huffington Post

Toys are the new textbooks, according to the Huffington Post

Ever-adept at posing a question, Matt Murrie of “What If...?” raises three relevant queries in this latest news article for the Huffington Post entitled “What if Toys are the New Textbooks?”

What if the “three Rs” are wrong?

If the point of schooling is to prepare students for their future jobs, and the top job skills have changed drastically in past decades, then maybe it’s about time we reconsider the focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic as the bedrock of education. Early in the article, Matt posits focusing more on the “three Cs” in place of the “three Rs”, calling for a shift to teaching “skills like creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking in order to prepare them to be innovative workers and live satisfying lives.”

What if we used empathy to educate?

Quick to recognize empathy at the core of the three Cs “binding them all together,” Matt bemoans the reality that “empathy is neither learned from textbooks, nor a computer screen.” Thankfully play is powerful tool for learning — one that moves away from a “process of digestion and regurgitation”, all too typical in a domain reliant on standardized test results as proof of learning.

What if we started a toy revolution?

It’s no secret that Twenty One Toys is inspired both by the work of Italian designer, Bruno Munari, and  Friedrich Fröbel, the inventor of Kindergarten and “the first category of educational toys.” Drawing parallels between the title of Munari’s book “Air Made Visible,” and Fröbel’s toys (known as gifts) for learning through play, Matt wonders “what if only toys can boil down the tough stuff into easy to understand moments of insight?” We couldn’t agree more! Toys can “become objects for thinking in metaphors” and in this way, students and CEOs alike are able to practice the critical 21st century skills that textbooks just can’t teach.