Six Brick Method bringing play to learning
The Sector > Provider > General News > Dr. Meyerson is serious about play, touring the world to teach the Six Brick Method

Dr. Meyerson is serious about play, touring the world to teach the Six Brick Method

by Freya Lucas

May 23, 2024

In the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, play is often thought of as the domain of children exclusively, however play is important for adults too. 


Play is the birthplace of creative solutions, dynamic ideas, and problem solving which exists ‘outside the box.’


Dr. Denise Meyerson is one of only four master trainers in the LEGO Serious Play methodology, developed in the late 1990’s as a way of integrating playful thinking and creativity into the corporate environment.


In 2010, The LEGO Foundation gifted the process as an open-source method to any organisation seeking to introduce a different approach to problem solving, team building and strategy development.


Dr Meyerson has toured the world, working with major companies, corporations and consultants and academics, recently adapting the play methodology to work with children, launching the LEGO Six Brick Methodology exclusively for children aged 3-8 years. 


Endorsed by the LEGO® Foundation The Six Brick Method has proven effective in enhancing numeracy and literacy, and responds to the critical need for interactive, engaging learning experiences that counterbalance the passive consumption of screen content.


The Six Brick Method is made up of over 300 activities which is designed to promote sensory play, numeracy, speech and language development, cognitive growth, and social and emotional skills.


These activities are rooted in the belief that learning through play is not only more engaging for children but also more effective in cementing new knowledge and skills. It’s a method that wakes up the brain, encourages imagination and, most importantly, fosters the kind of face-to-face interaction that screens so often replace.


Becoming a master trainer 


Dr Meyerson is one of only four master trainers in the world, and the process to becoming one of these elite title holders was quite the process.  


“I was initially the licence-holder in Australia of the LEGO Serious Play method and because of the success we had here in terms of using the process in companies such as Qantas, Microsoft, Luxottica and SAP, I was invited to undergo training to become a master trainer so that I in turn could train further facilitators of the process,” she explained.


“The training took place in the USA and in Denmark and it was an enormous privilege to have been selected to step up to this level. Subsequently, the LEGO Serious Play method became open-source and is used globally by top companies who are determined to be innovative in their thinking processes.  I have travelled the world teaching others how to use the process and I am currently a visiting scholar at Virginia Commonwealth University in the USA.”


Leg godt: Playing well, no matter what the age 


We were keen to learn more about the transition from corporate settings to the world of early learning, and how this took place. 


“The Danish words leg godt mean ‘play well’,” Dr Meyerson explained.  


“Whether you are an adult or a child, using the bricks as manipulatives creates so many possibilities that do not occur through pen and paper, spreadsheets and Powerpoint slides.”


Each year the master trainers would gather as part of the LEGO Idea Conference for educators.  


One year Dr Meyerson sat next to Brent Hutcheson of Care for Education who was working on the development of a method called Six Bricks, based on the same principles as LEGO Serious Play in terms of using the bricks as a way to express ideas but it is aimed at children.  


From this conversation, she became a master trainer of Six Bricks as well and brought it to Australia as a way for parents, early learning settings and schools to use this simple yet effective method.


A versatile approach which adapts well to early learning


Six Bricks is a set of activities – over 300 – that make use of just 6 DUPLO type bricks in six colours: red, orange, yellow, light blue, dark blue and green.


The activities were developed by educators with a background in physiotherapy so that each activity is conducted to help children develop skills such as:


  • Fine motor movement so that they can hold a pen well at school and not only swipe across on a device


  • Problem solving skills to ensure that children persevere and try out other solutions instead of giving up too quickly


  • Focus and attention to be able to listen to instructions and follow through on them without become distracted


  • Creative thinking to be able to identify better ways of performing tasks or using their imagination to design mazes for example or towers that hang down from tables


  • Numeracy skills that are not just paper-based but use the bricks as a way of making the use of numbers and patterns more real.


“The research on which the Six Bricks method is based extends back to the pedagogical theories of constructivism in that children don’t acquire knowledge by observing things passively. It’s only by doing that they truly build their understanding,” Dr Meyerson explained.


The late Professor Seymour Papert from MIT was one of the forebearers of this pedagogical approach, and Mitch Resnick is the current LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at MIT Media Lab where he continues to do research around engaging children in creative learning experience. 


Dr Meyerson has found that educators who embrace the Six Brick methodology are able to weave it into their existing practice, with most children being attracted to the LEGO bricks, something which makes it easier for their educators to keep them engaged. 


Using LEGO bricks to learn about shapes, colours, measurement, following directions and engaging with their learning environment have all been common observations for Dr Meyerson in her travels. 


“Six Bricks is considered to be more structured play than free play.  In free play, children would be able to use the bricks as they pleased in terms of building different models or structures.  There is no doubt value in this as a way of developing skills,” she shared.


Six Bricks is a way to excite and motivate children to gain skills that they need to be successful all the way through their educational career.  The activities are not a curriculum but they are integrated into different areas of development so that children aren’t totally self-directed but they are having so much fun that they don’t realise just how much they are learning.”


To learn more about the Six Brick methodology please see here

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