I’m thrilled to share that The Children’s School has been selected by the organizers of the Atlanta Maker Faire to host a space – an entire parking lot in Decatur from October 4-5 – dedicated to elementary aged children. The maker faire is “an event created by Make magazine to “celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset.’” As a school committed to “learning by doing” – Lila McDill’s experiment in progressive education back in the 1970s – it’s gratifying to be recognized by the larger community as forward-thinking and as thought leaders in 21st century elementary education.
Our preliminary research shows that while middle schools and high schools across the country are embracing this culture of making and tinkering, only a few elementary schools have established the maker mindset in their staff and children. A maker space empowers every learner – adult and child – to indulge in playful exploration and discovery, and heartily engage with complex projects and problems based in the real world. That way of teaching and learning is natural to us at TCS. According to the organizers of the Maker Faire, we are the first in the history of such events around the world to organize such a large space for children ages three through fourteen! Sure there have been booths and exhibits offered by others, but our vision transcends beyond just one booth or activity to offering a mini-Maker Faire within the confines of the larger event. Our activities will feature both high-tech and low-tech tools, but always high-touch, to engage mind and body, the rational and emotional! We are both humbled and excited that we at TCS will provide a model of for other elementary schools at maker faires everywhere.
So What is Our Vision?
Our space at the Maker Faire, dubbed The Innovator’s Playground, will feature interactive exhibits, demonstrations, and engaging lessons in science, technology, design engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) for children ages three to fourteen, as well as their families! The playground itself will be divided into four spaces:
- An area facilitated by our TCS faculty and staff;
- Another area dedicated to TCS families and volunteers who are makers and tinkerers in their homes and professional lives;
- TCS partners that offered workshops and sessions this past summer;
- Friends of TCS – neighboring elementary schools as well as other corporate sponsors.