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Spencer Ave ES develops Makerspace in library

September 29, 2022

ORANGEVILLE, ON — Spencer Avenue Elementary School has developed a space where students can create, tinker and play. 

The makerspace that staff and students developed in their library is where science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (S.T.E.A.M.) skills develop and grow. The purpose of the Makerspace is that students engaging with it will wonder, design, test, build and gain confidence at exploring problems.

The inspiration for the Makerspace was for students to participate in play-based learning, “We think of play-based learning as a kindergarten thing. In reality, play-based learning is something that is enjoyed by all age groups,” said Sandra McLarnon, Spencer Ave ES Librarian. 

For the Makerspace project, the staff at Spencer Ave ES partnered with Engineers of Tomorrow – a charitable organization that runs programs that help Canadian youth understand the power of engineering to unlock and shape positive societal change.

Through this collaboration, Spencer Ave’s Makerspace has an Engineer-in-Residence, Jim Baxter, who provides an engineering perspective on local, national and global problems, science, technology and the value of genuine teamwork.

Through the activities happening in the Makerspace, students understand that engineers solve problems for people in the world. 

“When kids begin to see the connections between the stuff they are learning at school, the challenge of the engineering design process and problems in our communities and world, they tend to invest their heads, hands, and hearts,” said McLarnon. 

Although the Makerspace has debuted at Spencer Avenue ES, the space is never quite “finished.” “It is a living space that thrives when conditions are flexible and responsive to kids and the world around them,” said McLarnon. The Makerspace continues to evolve, being shaped by the students’ skills and interests. The students had their first Makerspace meeting last week where they identified 32 clubs they would either like to join or organize.

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