It’s an exciting time at McPherson Square. Our Maker Jawn program has seen our numbers swell. Most days, we have to turn the sign-in sheet over and have the children sign on the back. But the numbers are a consequence of the excitement and not the cause. The cause is that makers are coming with ideas, engaging in projects, and wanting to return.
We have had some very successful collaborations with the LEAP program and Soundscape: Sound and Speaker Project. With LEAP taking front stage, we did a day on the history of catapults and then makers worked in groups to create their own catapults. Maker mentors assisted in improving the function of the catapults. We then revisited the catapult theme a few weeks later. This time the makers made all sorts of paper airplanes and launched them from a rubber band catapult.
With Soundscape, the mentors assisted mostly in providing a maker space that allowed our makers to feel comfortable trying a new project. This is no small jawn. It is a real sign that our community is maturing, when we are able to bring in outside groups and infuse them into the maker space. Here are some headphones that Shamira made.
But successful collaborations don’t tell the full story at McPherson. Our maker are transitioning from mentor directed and managed programing to maker driven programing. The mere suggestion of making dollhouses or motor cars has our makers springing into action. Below is a car that Christina made over the course of three sessions and a doll house with stairs and a lamp that Emonie made.
These are projects that the mentors suggested but barely touched the construction.
Furthermore, we are starting to see makers come to the program with ideas of their own. Self-directed and self-motivated projects are no longer a rare occurrence. Below, you see Nicole making a miniature swing set, Marquez making a miniature basketball hoop, and Edward making a box fan.
We hope to continue this growth in the coming months. It is an exciting time at McPherson Square. I know that I am excited.
-Bryan Belknap, Lead mentor at McPherson Square.