What is going well and thoughts on why

Things are going well at McPherson Maker Jawn.  We had almost 600 participants in the month of March.  The kids have made

functioning cardboard table top games, IMG_0177

plaster cast sculptures,IMG_0372

 

clay sculptres,IMG_0325

birdhouses,  IMG_0373

flashlights,IMG_0314

oceans of slime,IMG_0367

sophisticated dollhouses,IMG_0235

3D perler bead sculptures with lights,

water rockets,IMG_0357

jewelry,IMG_0368

obstacle courses,IMG_0304

and a wide variety of other creations.IMG_0239IMG_0364 (1)IMG_0369 (1)

 

 

 

So, why are things going so well?

 

I. A welcoming environment.

I have tried very hard to create a welcoming environment at McPherson.  When a newcomer arrives, he/she is offered a tour.  In the tour, I try to emphasize that the space and the supplies are for the children and that they will never be told that they must do an activity.  I work hard at greeting everyone  daily, noticing when someone has been absent, and asking the kids what I can do for them.

 

I want every child and family member to feel like they are welcome and that they matter.

 

I haven’t posted any rules.  This is intentional.  I don’t want the space to feel like school.  Rather, I work hard on building a sense of community.  I verbally repeat the rules often.  Be safe.  Be nice.  Keep it appropriate.  But again, I try to do this in a relaxed and welcoming way.  “No running, because we need to keep this place safe for the little ones.”  “Be nice, because there are a lot of kids here and we need everyone to get along.”

II. A fun environment.

I care deeply about these kids’ educations.  But education is a long game.  I’d love to sit each kid down and start them on an intense course of study.  However, that isn’t practical.  That is a formula for driving kids away from this program.  Instead, I stand back and let the kids hangout, listen to music, play video games, and simply be.

I believe that if the kids are in a content rich environment they will choose to put down the video games and do an activity.  That won’t happen at the frequency that I like, but it is empowering for a child to choose to engage in learning as opposed to acquiescing.

Hopefully, the photographs from the past month show that children will choose to do activities over computer games.

III. A caring environment

I tried hard through word and dead to let everyone in the space know that they matter and that I care.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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