What is a makerspace and how do you make one? The authors of Making Space for Preschool Makerspaces— Robin Marx-Mackerley, MS, Teresa A. Byington, PhD, Sarah E. Wright, MEd, Cathryn L. Peshlakai, MEd— answer that and more. Below, the “maker four” explain how they discovered makerspaces and initiated the maker movement throughout preschools in their community. They also share a sneak peak of what you will learn in the book, such as how to plan for and set up a makerspace, the phases of a maker, and the benefits of makerspaces. Get the book and join the maker movement today!
Hi, I'm Robin Marx-Mackerley, one of the co-authors of the new book Making Space for Preschool Makerspaces. Have you ever heard of the term makerspace? I hadn't until a few years ago, when I was doing some research for an early childhood conference here in Nevada. I wondered— what would a makerspace look like in a preschool classroom? How would the teachers and children react? What would they think?
It was that curiosity that drove me to enlist the support of my coauthors, Teresa, Sarah, and Cathy. Together, we initiated the maker movement here in Nevada. It started with a puppet makerspace, and grew from there. This book shares lessons learned along the way, and then highlights ways that you can create a preschool makerspace in your early childhood program.
I'm Teresa Byington, and I'm excited to tell you a little more about what you'll find in the book, Making Space for Preschool Makerspaces. We start by exploring why makerspaces in early childhood? A makerspace is an invitation for young children to boldly explore materials, and to create something only they can imagine. Children have opportunities to take ownership of their learning and exploration. They begin to see themselves as creators and inventors.
In the book, we discuss several different types of makerspaces, and how you can determine the right one for your program or classroom. We offer ideas on how you can draft a plan for setting up a makerspace, and what to consider as you take inventory of what you have and what you will need.
Once you have your makerspace set up, you’ll want to create excitement and anticipation as you introduce the makerspace to the children. This book is full of stories, photos, examples, resources, and lessons learned that will guide you in setting up a makerspace.
I'm Sarah Wright, one of the authors of Making Space for Preschool Makerspaces. When Robin first mentioned makerspaces to me, I was excited about the possibilities for child-led, hands-on learning. We know children learn best when they're interested, have choices, and are able to think independently and be creative.
Makerspaces in preschool sounded like the ultimate way to provide developmentally appropriate learning. When we went into a classroom for the first time and set up a makerspace, I was amazed at the response from the children. I knew it would be engaging, but it was even better than I had imagined.
The children were all in! They explored the materials and discussed measurements, patterning, and how things worked. They were problem-solving together and very focused. The children were excited to share their observations with others. I was able to document language, motor, cognitive, and social-emotional skills all around me. Participating in a Makerspace with young children is quite rewarding!
Hi, I'm Cathy Peshlakai, one of the “maker four”. What a joy it has been to co-author this book and share our passion for makerspace experiences. We have observed a variety of approaches children display when they first encounter a makerspace. Preschoolers seem almost compelled to explore their immediate environment. They use all their senses to touch, poke, stare at, smell, or carefully listen to the environment and objects around them.
We have noticed a progression of growth as children become more comfortable exploring, problem-solving, and developing new ideas, which we call “the phases of a maker”. We describe in length each of the phases, and provide suggestions for teacher actions during each phase.
We guide you step-by-step in making a makerspace that invites young children to boldly explore materials and create something only they can imagine. We have discovered the joy of sharing the makerspace ideas with others in our community, and have seen the excitement grow. We encourage you to share your experiences with coworkers, families, communities, and become a maker champion!