That most of our learning came from experiences in the real world, yet we were primarily teaching students in the classroom.

Watch Kiran talk about where this idea originated and the first Client Project that she gave her students.


Try the empathy lens:

Think of a difficult administrative task that you have to complete (e.g. scheduling for the week, or organizing and managing classroom resources) and instead give it to a group of students.

Notice their behaviour and body language through the task. Ask them what they learnt from the task, and focus on how this learning and this task differed from completing an exercise in the textbook.


  • On reflection, we recognised that for us as teachers, our most transformative learning had come from our real life experiences rather than from our time spent in an academic classroom.

  • We saw that children were much more engaged in the learning process whenever we could make it relevant to them and whenever they felt they were actually adding value to the world around them.

  • We realised that in their interactions with a real world client, children built confidence and took agency in finding solutions for the client's needs!

It became evident that intentionally designed Client Projects could be a fantastic way to help the students develop 21st Century skills, while at the same time helping them cover academic content of Language, Maths and other core subjects.



it was possible for children to engage with learning in a manner that is relevant to the real world?


A process called Client Projects which gave children the opportunity to design solutions for real-life clients.

As they immersed themselves in understanding and fulfilling their client’s brief, children experienced what it means to practice the FIDS process in real-time in the real-world.

They learnt to take responsibility of working with a user as they made choices and exercised skills like dividing tasks and working in teams, building empathy and understanding perspectives of different stakeholders.

Students also learnt to think creatively and understood the stringent requirements for implementing their solutions in the face of approaching deadlines.

At its core, a Client Project became an intentional way to activate the design-thinking mindset in children. It is now one of the key elements that allows Riverside to prepare its students for life, and not just for college.



This video helps make visible the process of Client Projects from ‘intention’ to ‘action’.


In the video above, you will see the different steps for facilitating a Client Project, starting with identifying a client, understanding their needs and then ideating, creating and testing a prototype. You will also see the benefits that come from students’ exposure to different Client Projects.

Additional Videos:

  • 5:38

    a) Case Study 1: Jewellery Design

    Watch students of Key Stage 1 showcase how age has nothing to do with competency.

  • 3:56

    b) Case Study 2: Butterfly Garden

    Follow the students of Grade 4 in their journey of creating a new space for a local nature park.

  • 2:50

    c) Case Study 3: Havmor Challenge

    Students of Grade 10 create a new flavour of ice cream for the festive season.


In this section, Riverside edu-heroes share strategies and insights from their experience of the process and how the process has impacted their practice.

  • 4:22

    FAQ Video

    Watch Deepa share important guidelines, strategies, and tips for facilitating Client Projects.

  • 2:58

    Impact Video

    Watch Deepa share the impact that Client Projects have had on students as well as on her own practice.

  • 2:00

    Alumni Video

    Watch Preet talk about the impact of the ‘Client Project’ on his journey beyond Riverside.

  • 2:16

    Alumni Video

    Watch Audarya talk about the impact of the ‘Client Project’ on his journey beyond Riverside.




  • The easiest way to start a Client Project is to tap into your network of friends and inquiring about their needs – it could be organizing a birthday party, or creating a library for a school, or designing an extension to a house, or even coming up with a new way to market an existing product.

  • Be shameless about suggesting that your students might be the best people to design solutions for any needs, as you will be amazed about what they are capable of creating when given the chance!

  • Make sure that your teachers understand the delicate balance of when to intervene/scaffold and when to let the students try to tackle an issue on their own. Tell your teachers that failure and reflection on that is a key part of the client projects process.