By Ryan Moreno and Jacqueline Moreno
REM Learning Center is proud to have been chosen as a 2014 Maker Corps Host Site! Our Play Make Share program investigates how the integration of methods such as design thinking, systems thinking, computational thinking, play, making, and tinkering within both formal and informal learning environments can be used to introduce 21st Century Skills and inspire a lifelong love of learning at an early age. For about a year now Play Make Share has been actively working with using real tools with young children (ages 4 to 9 years), empowering them to extend their play through making in our school makerspace. We have been integrating maker-inspired learning opportunities with curriculum and early childhood theories. REM Learning Center has over 30 years of experience providing quality early childhood education to children in Miami-Dade County.
Our program believes that the democratization of FabLab tools such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and CNC milling machines is analogous to the democratization of the computer. We are all aware of the impact that the personal computer continues to have on the way teachers teach and engage students. In order to prepare our organization, our students, and our community for this exciting future, we decided to develop a school FabLab for our staff and a Makerspace for our students. This is the environment within which the 2014 Maker Corps Members will be spending the majority of their time.
For 8 weeks during our summer program, they will be exploring the intersection of traditional craft materials with digital fabrication techniques such as laser cutting, papercraft electronics, craft stick electronics, 3D printing, and CNC milling. Maker Corps Members will also be exploring how these tools and techniques can be used to empower children and extend their creative play.
One typical project that we have done in the past, and are planning to engage in during this summer program, is creating some classroom furniture with the children. This project empowered the students (ages 4 to 9 years) to design and make their own chairs for the Play Make Share Studio. This is one example of how we are exploring the intersection of early childhood education, school makerspaces, and teacher FabLabs. To find out more come visit us at www.remlearningcetner.com/playmakeshare
We invite you to come Play with us, Make something fun, and Share what you have learned this summer with the world.
Maker Ed is thrilled to welcome the REM Learning Center as a new Maker Corps Host Site for 2014. Applications for all Maker Corps Members will open Monday, February 3, and close on March 21. Click here for more information, and to apply. – Nancy