The uniqueness of being maker (or how I stopped worrying and learned to love hot glue).

May was a month of much self-reflection for this maker mentor.  I started thinking about how I could lessen my footprint on the daily programing.  We have been to ask to think about our collaborations with other programs and people in the library system.  And lastly, I’ve wondered about my place in this program and the future of the program as a whole.  At the end, I’m not sure I’m any insights to provide.


Running a makerspace is a unique experience.  Each of our locations has a different program, community, and physical space.  When I go to one of those locations, I experience that location as only I can.  I have or do not have knowledge of the individual children.  We have or don’t have a relationship of trust from which to work.


I love the growing collaborations we have at McPherson Square.  A new development this month was space sharing during programming.


But what we do at Maker Jawn is unique.  There are no beginning and end points to our projects.   This month, Timmea has been bringing in a group of her friends to make dollhouses.  Before Timmea, Harmony was in a dollhouse phase.  As long as there is Maker Jawn and little girls, there will be cardboard dollhouses being constructed.  Despite appearances, we are not a dollhouse building program.  Rather we let the children do what projects they want to do them and as often as they want.  I can’t imagine that happening in a program not dedicated to a maker approach.


The children love to open the space with me.  This month Shadonna helped me unpack our monthly supplies.  She decided that she want to be in charge of making lipstick for the day.  And so, I did a quick read through of the lesson plan, gave her an overview, and let her go.  Irianna came over and those two lead a table full of girls in making lipstick.  Leading other children in maker projects is not something Shadonna or Irianna have ever done before.  They are only occasional participants, generally, just hanging out.  However, they know that this is the kind of thing that one can do at Maker Jawn.  Again, it is hard to see any other program having this loose and free format.


I read Gavin’s post this month and found it interesting and challenging.  I too have been trying to introduce the iPads as a standard maker resource.  If you haven’t read Gavin’s blog post this month, I recommend it.  The other thing I find unique about our programming is our ability resist censoring play.  Look it is a huge temptation to tell the kids, “Do not to ‘just’ play.”  I don’t see a program that isn’t dedicated to self-driven activity resisting the temptation to prohibit mere play.


Bryan Belknap

Lead Mentor at McPherson Square


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