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Fostering the Maker Movement in Early Childhood Education

The National Head Start Association is pleased to announce that our Executive Director, Yasmina Vinci, has been selected to moderate the panel “Fostering the Maker Movement in Early Childhood Education” at South by SouthWest Education Exposition & Festival in Austin, Texas. This event brings together over 7,000 participants from various education fields to stimulate innovative ideas, and we are excited host panel participants from various industries to discuss the Maker Movement at this critical stage of intellectual development.  

The Maker Movement, with roots in recreational engineering, focuses on engaging children in STEAM principles (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) with hands-on activities. Technology presence continues to grow in our daily lives, and this approach not only capitalizes on the beneficial aspects of technology in the classroom, but also encourages children to grow as “natural scientists”. The Maker Movement re-examines the traditional methods by which science and math are introduced in the classroom and encourages educators to approach these subjects by framing children as inventors. The innovation they employ while actually building objects and applying abstract concepts in concrete ways, will further shift their approach to other subjects, including the arts.

This approach, while applicable at all levels of education, is especially important when discussing early childhood education at the critical preschool age. As children’s minds are developing at an unparalleled rate, this type of curriculum will spark a lifelong passion to push beyond curiosity to explore and interact with the world around them. Finding concrete ways to implement activities that will encompass this combination of creativity and innovation can be difficult - our panelists will discuss their unique industry perspectives, along with the challenges they’ve faced and the solutions they’ve developed.

Our participants will include Chris Hume, founder and CEO of Kodo Kids, a company dedicated to inspiring innovation by giving children the tools they need to explore. He will be joined by Lisa Brahms, who is the Director of Research and Learning at the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum as well as project lead for the museum’s newest permanent exhibit, “the MakeShop”. Our last participant is one of our own Head Start community leaders, Wassy Tesfa, Head Start Director at Pacific Clinics. Wassy and her program chaired and coordinated the first Early Childhood STEM conference for the Region IX Head Start Association.

Make sure to join Yasmina and other NHSA staff SXSWedu March 6-9, 2017 at Austin Texas and look for more panel updates on our social media! Register for SXSWedu here.