Our K-5 elementary school has a dynamic and active Makerspace that has been slowly growing since my arrival in 2014. This past year I used our pass system to gain some data on those students who were visiting. This confirmed my suspicions. Although we had over 1000 passes written by teachers, most were our older students. Few were 1st graders and almost none were kindergarteners. I have made it one of my goals to see just as many of our youngest students in using our Makerspace for this coming school year. While this is an ambitious goal, I had to reflect on HOW? That is when I developed the idea of expanding our Makerspace and adding a Playkerspace.
Playkerspace is a term I am borrowing from our district’s AWESOME Media Resource Specialist Kelly McKee at Lawson Early Childhood Center (learn more). It incorporates the goals of Makerspace while still encouraging students to learn through play. The goals of our Makerspace are the 6 Cs: Collaborate, Create, Communicate, Critically Think, Citizenship and Curiosity. As we are also a bilingual campus we want to especially encourage communication for our youngest students. With this in mind our Playkerspace is deliberately designed to encourage monolingual (English speaking) and bilingual (Spanish and English-speaking) students to visit together (tying in my principal’s ideas of a language lab).
So what is it?
Yep, that is it. 24 dollar store boxes with fancy labels.
It was my goal to have these ready to go for the new 17-18 school year. However, with a lot of hard work, I got them done early. Which was great because they have been the HIT of our summer program! Kids LOVE them!!!
I plan to unveil the Playkerspace idea with our new kindergarten and first grade teachers this August and make learning how to use each box part of the orientation for each class. Then I will keep track of student visits using a pass system, track and analyze student use. It is my goal that this will increase our youngest students use of the Makerspace and exposure to the 6 Cs. To learn more view more information.