“Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create and express ourselves to feel whole. There is something unique about making physical things. These things are like little pieces of us and seem to embody portions of our souls”Mark Hatch, The Maker Movement Manifesto
This summer we are using MakerSpace in SEEK (Sunday Ethical Education for Kids) programming. Our own Bailey Whiteman introduced it to me as something her children participated in last year at River Road UU and thought it might be a good fit for our kids at WES. I contacted the Director of Religious Education there and she happily sent files for us to help us get ideas for our rendition of Makerspace which Ndara Miles, the SEEK assistant, has put together for us at WES.
Some parents have heard of this great program in other circles. A quick explanation is, “ The maker movement is about teaching and learning that is focused on student centered inquiry. This is not the project done at the end of a unit of learning, but the actual vehicle and purpose of the learning”. To learn even more, you can also watch a short video explanation here, and read even more here.
MakerSpace helps our children learn about the world around them. They will be encouraged to test things out, work in groups, and to think creatively. If we want to bring out the best in our children, teaching them how to think critically is crucial.
For the summer, these are the units they will work on:
- Paper airplanes
- Creating with trading cards
- Building with cardboard
- Cooking and preparing food taken from our garden
- Deconstructing electronics
- Creating something new from repurposed electronics
- And more!
We have already had several fun, successful weeks of creating and I know the children are very excited about the upcoming weeks where they get to tear things apart with no one telling them “don’t do that!”
The plan after this MakerSpace unit is to continue working on similar Montessori style learning in our Theme Exploration classes this school year. That means we plan to continue offering several choices every Sunday. For example, students might want to choose doing a movement activity like yoga, dancing, or taking a walk. Or they might choose a reading activity from an assortment of pre-chosen books. Or they might choose a completely different activity like building or constructing something related to the theme like making a holiday craft, or building a dollhouse. Our children have different needs and wishes of how to spend their time at WES, so why not offer them more variety?
The SEEK team is actively planning for fall right now. We would love it if you all would join our students in creating and exploring with us too! Come meet with me to learn how you can be part of these classes.
-Melissa Sinclair, Director of Lifelong Learning
“Ultimately, the outcome of maker education leads to determination, independence and creative problem solving, and an authentic preparation for the real world through simulating real-world challenges. In short, an educational makerspace is less of a classroom and more of a motivational speech without words” (Kurti et al., 2014).