My girls still have more than three weeks of summer vacation to go. To get them excited about learning, we explored the EDGE programs at the Sylvan Learning Brooklyn Heights location.
Our summer has been an awesome mix of learning experiences and plain old fun. The key is balancing the two things so the girls don't suffer from summer brain drain. I'm acutely aware of how intense the school year is for them, so I don't want to fill their days with rote memorization and worksheets. I'm looking for enriching activities that my girls find fun. And one thing both my girls love is coding and building. That's a win.
Studies show that if children aren’t introduced to STEM at an early age, it becomes extremely difficult for them to grasp the concepts later in life. Summer is the perfect time for my girls to try new things in a fun non-competitive setting.
Sylvan gained a reputation for serving students incredibly well with customized learning programs. At Sylvan it’s all about a customized approach that builds confidence and a love of learning.
Now Sylvan is expanding into STEM with their EDGE course. What’s STEM? It’s the focus on science, technology, engineering and math. Subjects that allow children to become problem solvers. And subjects that girls traditionally have been left out of. We’ve been making a big effort to show our girls that math and science can be exceptionally fun. In fact, we seek out opportunities to get them coding and playing with robotics. I was happy to learn that Sylvan offers both of these things in a flexible setting.
STEM Power Kids
After spending an afternoon checking out the programs as a family, I can tell you they are a blast!
These STEM enrichment programs, Sylvan EDGE, can complement a traditional core Sylvan program or serve to engage a student who is not getting enough STEM time in school. My younger daughter only gets computer time 1-2 days a week and the same for my middle schooler. This just isn't enough time to foster a real spark of interest. My older girl loves coding so much she has joined her schools Girls Who Code club--that's a start, but I'm always looking for more ways to foster her interest.
The EDGE programs currently offer robotics and game design (computer coding). The Robotics uses LEGO® pieces to build “robots” that are then coded into action using LEGO® Education’s award-winning WeDo™ software. It’s a way to introduce girls to engineering concepts using play.
My daughter loved the small group setting. She worked with one other child and a dedicated instructor to plan and build a new robot using LEGO® bricks. Check her out building her own robot!
My budding engineer worked with one other student and an instructor. The instructor challenged the girls to work as a team and only rely on him for periodic help--he wanted the girls to solve the problems. The goals was to build an alligator whose jaw moved with computer commands. I’m not sure if she knew she was learning engineering concepts (such as how pulleys, levers and motors work) but I do know she was having fun—in fact she pleaded to stay longer and build another robot after this one was finished.
She also did a coding course where she made her own video game. Game design helps kids learn basic programming through animation. It’s a great introduction to coding—kids learn to stack commands to create a set of actions I loved how it combined problem solving with imagination!
There’s also Math EDGE offered for kids that aren’t behind—in fact it’s for kids who can’t get enough math. In today’s crowded classrooms, the teacher often has to teach to the kids who are struggling. This can leave the kids who quickly master content to feel bored and neglected.
Try It Out
Many centers offer free trial programs. Why not give it a try this summer? Popping in is a terrific way to get your kids into learning mode without forcing things.
Summer doesn’t have to be a time where kids lose ground. I am thrilled my girls are getting an early exposure to STEM. Sylvan offers flexible schedules and you can customize a program that includes both traditional academics as well as STEM. If not this summer, then plan Sylvan Learning for an enrichment activity that is both enriching and engaging in the fall.
This is a sponsored post. Sylvan arranged for a day of classes for my girls to experience STEM learning at a local center to facilitate this review.