We typically see our children as being in school and learning or being out of school and playing. Here at Young Engineers we aim to combine both. We find that our children see their classes as games; in Lego Challenge they build a cake mixer, we bring bowls and ingredients and we make a mess, however in the process we also tell them about gear transmission and the variation of power and speed depending on the gear setup.
As children go from being toddlers to through their early schooling and all the way through to age 15, they are constantly developing their motor skills from the obvious things like learning to stand and walk (types of gross motor skills) to learning to control their hands and fingers to write all the way through to being a teenager and working to develop sophisticated skills to play the electric guitar (all types of fine motor skills)
The pieces of K’NEX in our Big Builders programme are larger, with colours that are easily distinguished by younger children in the earlier stages of motor skill development. By the time they are 7 their motor skill is developed enough to enable them to build more complex models and to distinguish between the much smaller Lego pieces. As they build their model, our Young Engineers are exposed to a wide range of basic movements: gripping, connecting, beading and separating, all the time building their motor skills.
In 2014 Psychology Today published an analysis of several academic papers which noted that a child’s fine motor skills were a strong indicator of academic achievement in later life. You can read more about the study here.
In our classes the children build their models by themselves, using their own creativity and problem solving abilities. As they build they are also learning about how to set goals, how to gather the information needed to build their model and once completed they get to dream up ways to make their model better, all based on their own imagination.
All of our programmes follow a structured curriculum with our engineers learning new skills each lesson, however we suspect that if you ask them they’ll tell you they were playing and having fun and we hope that we create an environment where learning is an adventure for them.