PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details
a) We mainly do:
i. Programs for kids: camps, after-school programs, weekend workshops, events
ii. Curriculum development for clients like Intel and 3D Systems
iii. Educator training for clients like the Toronto Public Library
b) At our makerspace in Toronto, and at various schools, libraries and events throughout the Greater Toronto Area and beyond (Rome, NYC, SF, etc)
c) We run about 10 programs per week, with an average of 10 kids per program
d) Average of 2 hours per program
e) Our excellent instructors and mentors: http://makerkids.ca/team
f) We plan to open up a maker school
INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.
More and more people are dropping out of university to self-educate. More and more people are becoming entrepreneurs. The world is a complex and constantly changing place and needs education to match. We get hundreds of emails from organizers in other communities that want to learn to do what we do. As well, making is an increasingly popular community being encouraged by luminaries like Obama.
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?
Learning through play means learning in an exploratory and fun way, where the kids are having so much fun that they don't even realize that they are learning. For us it's a must-have because 1) it keeps the kids coming back 2) it is a highly effective way to learn and 3) parents recognize how much their kids learn with us and keep bringing their kids because of this. We've had kids say "I wish I could come here instead of school"
SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.
1) Revenue: 50%
2) Grants: 30%
3) Sponsorship / in-kind revenue: 20%
MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?
Our business model (hybrid of non-profit and newly opened for-profit) allows us to ensure we are sustainable (through profit) but also allows us to give back (through the non-profit) by offering pay-what-you-can programs and free programs
FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?
We would use it to pay our instructors and staff to further document our curriculum. Often we are so busy and focused on doing that we don't have time or money to document extensively, but this is necessary for expansion and further impacting more kids.
PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.
We have partnerships with Hive, Mozilla, Intel, 3D Systems, ULS Laser Systems, Kids Learning Code, Chicago Toy and Game Fair, 826 Valencia, Maker Corps, Maker Camp, Maker Media, and more. They help by providing equipment, inspiration, and/or curriculum.
COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.
None that we are aware of
VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?
There would be at least one MakerKids space (with an accompanying Maker School) in every major city in the world, and traveling chapters in smaller cities. Kids who have gone through our programs will have gone on to become entrepreneurs, visionaries and world-changers.
IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time
-survey responses from parents that cite how their children have been unable to learn certain skills or socialize in a certain way in school, but can at MakerKids. Parents have also told us that they are using MakerKids as a form of high tech arts therapy for their kids, where their kids feel better during and after our programs.
-We wish to see our revenue improve over time
-Other metrics we look at: number of kids, number of programs
APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.
Physical Play, Play with Objects, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Providing a Range of Opportunities (providing the equipment and materials needed for various types of play), Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts), Adults Participating (Ensuring adults are able to play alongside children), Challenging Play (play that disrupts - where rules are disregarded and levels of imagination are high).
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.