School Hive

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School Hive: An everyday creative space for kids

GreeceAthens, Greece
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The School Hive designs together with children, teachers and parents a space (hive) to relax, play, read, use digital media, build things, and engage in all sorts of creative activities, and provides them with access to the financial and technical resources necessary to set up and operate the hive.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if children could genuinely choose and shape their own everyday experiences?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Children, especially in poor communities, are trapped between a school not flexible enough to help them engage in meaningful activities, and an everyday programming including homework, some school-like extracurricular activity, and “fast-food” commercial fun. Their interests, their need to play and create, to associate with others in their own way, are poorly served in this context. They need to be inspired and reconnect with life.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Children should have access to a so-called third space (apart school and home), and own it. A space, both physical and virtual, where they can freely get together and engage in what appeals to them most, a space they feel they can shape and make work in their own terms. The School Hive borrows good practices from after-school programs, libraries, playspaces, makerspaces, media labs, etc., and repackages them small and flexible into an integrated facility at the school premises. Every hive is designed together with those concerned and eventually operated by them. The School Hive provides support (know-how, training, and facilitated access to resources) for setting up and operating every ‘hive’, and ultimately a functional network of hives.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

8-year old George has an interest in how things work. He still remembers those machines he saw at the museum 2 years ago. But up to recently, only a couple of TV shows, a picture book and a set of plastic tools were the chances he had to pursue his interest. It’s been 3 months now that a “hive” opened in his school. There he got to use some real tools and made a wooden box of his own; he learned how to repair the chain of his bike; he borrowed books filled with machines and learned how to browse some really helpful sites… Above all, he saw both his interest and skills being recognized: his friends now ask for his “technical expertise” and grown-ups encourage him and are there when he needs help. Everything seems possible now.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

This project has not really started yet. Nevertheless, we do have some field experience from a pilot implementation we have been engaged in informally, which right now is in its late planning-early implementation phase. What we saw is that children, parents and teachers, got immediately motivated, and showed commitment as they started to get some evidence (blueprints, 3D visuals, lists of equipment and supplies) that this is for real. These are encouraging signs that people see the “hive” as relevant to their lives and are willing to make it work. Besides this pilot, evidence from endeavors that bear some analogies to our own (especially in the US and UK) suggests that creative opportunities on a neighborhood scale have significant positive results.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The School Hive’s ability to scale depends on the number of school communities that embark on the project. This is a matter of making visible the potential of successful implementations. And we count on the fact that a big part of our services package is the very raising of financial resources (money or in-kind) necessary for any specific ‘hive’. This means that a serious (financial) barrier to expansion could be dealt with successfully as long as we manage mobilizing resources locally and beyond. Then, practically every school would be saying: “why not having a ‘hive’ of our own, too”.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

The resources needed to keep the project running and expanding will be coming through a mix of: (a) fees covered by the customers (school communities, that is parents), (b) discounts on work, equipment and materials through sponsorship/CSR deals, (c) membership fees by supporters, (d) grants through regional development programs, (e) crowdfunding within the local community.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Quality opportunities for meaningful activity do exist for children. Museums, libraries, some municipal structures, to name a few. Here is what makes a difference in our approach: (a) the ‘hive’ is part of the school facilities and serves the school operations as well, (b) the ‘hive’ is visible, tangible and accessible in childrens’ everyday lives (not an one-off thing), (c) the ‘hive’ is the childrens’ own place (they are not just visitors), and (d) the ‘hive’ does not really compete with the opportunities provided elsewhere; on the contrary, it serves as a platform to bring them closer too.

Founding Story

Rather than some revelation moment, it was more like “connecting the dots” that made me see the need for the School Hive. I have seen around great potential for meaningful activity, though a potential that rarely affects childrens’ everyday lives. It is more like one-off chances, small bites that if you are lucky enough may lead to something bigger, but usually this is not the case. So, my thinking around this got to work on ways how to bring sustained change in chidrens’ lives and how to empower them to have a saying on this and thus make it really work.


Right now, I am discussing these ideas with people that can contribute, but there is not really a team formed yet. This is a major concern now, and my view is that the team should clearly cover the managerial aspects, and as far as specialized expertise is concerned, partnerships should be our first choice.
About You
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Organization Country

, Athens

Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Individuals, Foundations, NGOs, Businesses, Regional government, National government, Customers.

Primary Target Age Group

3 - 5, 6 - 12, 13 - 17.

Your role in Education

After-School Provider, Counselor, Resource Officer.

Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free).

Intervention Focus

Extracurricular, Community, Products or Services, Financing.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Actively Designing Space & Culture as Essential Elements for Learning: Creating cost-effective methods to infuse a school with habits, language, and materials needed for learning through play.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Whole child development is undervalued: Essential parts of development get left behind as children get older, such as healthy habits, executive function, and social and emotional learning.

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?
Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details
INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?
SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.
MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?
FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?
PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.
COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.
VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?
IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time
IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?

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Number of Employees:

Number of Volunteers:

APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.