Innovative Fab Lab developed at US ELC to expand to include first years of school
Early Learning Village, an early learning centre (ELC) in the United States has received funding to expand their STEM focussed Fab Lab to cater for students in their first year of school, as well as the current three and four year olds.
The ELC, part of Euclid City Schools, is home to a Fab Lab – a futuristic workshop containing a range of technologies and innovations that are made available to children that includes but is not limited to some of the following equipment:
- 3-D printers
- Educational robotics
- Desktop and laptop computers
- Interactive digital displays
- Educational gamification programs
The focus of the Fab Lab is on introducing children to aspects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in a fun and age appropriate manner, local news source Spectrum News has reported.
In addition, to the technology side of things there are also more traditional resources such as tool kits including tape measures, hammers and screwdrivers. Early Learning Village Principal Sanya Henley told Spectrum News that it was important to the school district to embed STEM skills early in a child’s school career, saying “We didn’t want to do it at the secondary level, like most schools do. We wanted them to come into school with that idea that ‘I can create’”
Curriculum Developer, Meg Somerville, spoke about the process of creating lessons, using the platform of familiar stories and narratives, applying STEM solutions to problems encountered during the story. This is similar to the approach taken by Professor Marilyn Fleer in her Conceptual PlayWorlds work, currently underway in Australian early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings.
The Fab Lab is part of the Early Learning Centre in the district of Euclid in Ohio and was created after receiving a grant of USD$237,000 from the Cuyahoga County preschool enrichment program.
By August 2019 the facility will increase dramatically in size through the provision of a USD$17 million renovation project which is currently under way. By then, about 700 preschoolers and kindergarteners are expected to fill the Early Learning Village which is likely to drive overall interest in the Fab Lab.
Once the school is fully up and running, it is anticipated that other districts will be able to bring their students over to the Early Learning Village for excursions as a way to introduce Fab Lab learning to them as well.
For more information on the Fab Lab please click here.