Design Thinking

Design thinking is a problem-solving methodology that emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and an understanding of human experience. Used increasingly in business, technology, engineering, and consulting, design thinking is now taught in top universities around the world.

In 2007, Riverdale began exploring how we could teach and use "design thinking" with our faculty and students. We began talks with a leader in design, IDEO, to create a "toolkit for educators" in order to bring design thinking to schools, teachers and students. This resulted in the Design Thinking Toolkit for Educators, now in its second version having been downloaded over 50,000 times in more than 120 countries. 

In 2012, Riverdale received an E.E. Ford Leadership Grant in order to further this work which resulted in an online course in partnership with IDEO and Edutopia, a new version of the toolkit, and a conference welcoming more than 350 people to Riverdale. 

We continue to use design thinking in all that we do as we look to redesign the Riverdale experience and the experience of students in schools. 

Design Thinking for Educators 2.0

IDEO leads Riverdale teachers and others through the design thinking process.

Design Thinking at RCS

At Riverdale, teachers use design thinking to improve the educational experience for students.

Why Design Thinking


Sit Smarter

Upper School students spend hours sitting at desks. How comfortable they are affects how well they learn. Riverdale has equipped many of its classrooms with the Node chair designed by IDEO for Steelcase. An example of design thinking, the chair was developed by researching and understanding the needs of students.

Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community



Lower School
1 Spaulding Lane
Bronx, NY 10471
LS: (718) 549-7780

Middle/Upper School
5250 Fieldston Road
Bronx, NY 10471
MS/US: (718) 549-8810

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Riverdale teaches students to become lifelong learners by fostering "growth" mindsets. Go There ><

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The River Campus offers a spacious, natural setting for our youngest students, inspiring learning and play. Go There >

Riverdale offers "STEAM" (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) teaching to Lower School students. Go There >

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Middle School students explore hands-on learning through the Riverdale Maker program. Go There >

Project Knowmad allows Middle Schoolers to learn in a different way, using NYC as their classroom. Go There >

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Riverdale teaches students to make connections through our interdisciplinary programs. Go There >

The club and activity program encourages students to explore their passions and try new things. Go There >

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About 80 percent of Upper School students participate in athletics. Go There >

Riverdale's Hill Campus has an indoor pool, football stadium, weight room, and 3 playing fields. Go There >

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Riverdale has entry points in Pre-K, Kindergarten, 6th, and 9th Grades. Visit our campus today. Go There >

Approximately 20 percent of Riverdale students receive some level of financial aid. Go There >

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Last year's Annual Fund totaled nearly $5 million in gifts from alumni, parents, and friends of the school. Go There >

Have you included Riverdale in your estate plans? Please let us know and join our expanding group of Hackett Planned Giving Society members today. Go There >

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