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Next year 10 kids will be leaving the preschool to enter the community school and in 2016 at least 6 new Hornby residents will be born. It’s exciting to see the number of children increasing. If you’re wondering how we can help young families to live and thrive here, one solution is to support a hackerspace.

This place has a longstanding hacker culture: do it yourself, learn from your friends and neighbors, share tools and expertise, do it with the money and materials available, make it unique and beautiful or simple and functional, but make it. Generations of Hornby kids have been empowered to make their own way. A hackerspace will foster this culture in the Hornby kids of today, by encouraging them to discover, play, and learn the skill sets that they’ll need to do what they want to do. It will be a great place to nurture their creativity and give them opportunities and spaces for discovery. When you learn that you can do it yourself when you’re a kid, that attitude continues into adulthood. The idea that anything is possible is a gift to a developing mind.

Everyone has a unique learning style: some learn best by reading and writing, some are visual or oral learners and some are kinesthetic. The latter group learns best by physical movements, such as using their hands to build and create. We would do will to value the teaching of creating, making, and fixing as highly as we do reading and writing. This kind of education is most effectively undertaken in a shared space, with opportunities for working on projects collaboratively, for learning from elders and for peer-to- peer exchanges. Children are allowed to be curious, to explore various solutions, and to value the process. It’s a model that teaches complex skills, and that learning can and should be fun!

Alissa Pratt, teaching VP at our Hornby Is. Community school, was inspired to implement a makerspace for the kids to create and play with a different kind of learning: “Being a daydreamer, tinkerer, and creator, I have always identified with those in my classrooms that need a little extra space and time to guide their own learning. In my position at a middle school, I offered a mini-elective called “Make Me a Maker”. It attracted all kinds of learners. Some arrived with a plan in hand, or selected a project, and usually ended up leaving with a completed creation in hand. Others enjoyed taking things apart to learn how to put them together. They tinkered and experimented and learned by doing. I rarely saw a “completed project” from these learners. Instead, I saw their brains weighing, measuring, comparing, imagining and re-imagining. This is what has kept me engaged in learning more about “making” and design thinking for our current learners at Hornby Island Community School.”

Lily Nyberg (a Grade 3 student at the school) recently made her own robots, inspired by a family robot collection as well as a painting of a robot on plywood she created and intended to screw a bunch of gears on to. Lily then saw some very simple wooden robots on the internet. After a trip to the Free store and a rummage through a junk drawer she had some great stuff to work with. After playing around with what would go where, she just needed a bit of help attaching the pieces together. Her robots turned out completely different from the ones she had viewed online; she got inspired and made something totally original.

lilys-robots-006-cropped

Supporting kids to be competent and confident to build new things and create new ideas is a primary feature of the Hackerspace. To discuss this and other ideas surrounding the future Hornby Hackerspace come to our next meeting at the Fire Hall on Monday May 23 at 7:00pm. For more information visit our Facebook page “Happy Hornby Hackerspace”.

By Leanna Killoran, Jules Platt and Quana Parker on behalf of the Happy Hornby Hackerspace, a family friendly community work space and innovation centre.