For Euclid City Schools, it seems you can never start them too young.
The district has created a “fab lab” for preschoolers in its Early Learning Center, teaching children ages 3-, 4-, and 5-years-old STEM skills that will act as a foundation for their futures.
It’s the first of its kind in the country, according to Karen Brown, director of strategic initiatives for Euclid City Schools.
“Of course it’s also scary because we are charting unknown territory and we don’t have a model to follow,” Brown said. “But because this whole project is about failing and failing as an opportunity to learn, we’re excited to just get our kids in here and give them a chance to explore and make mistakes. We will learn through this process together.”
The room is filled with roughly $50,000 worth of equipment, from 3D printers to tools to tinker with and teach kids engineering principles. They will also learn basic computer science and coding, as well as robotics and design.
“Kids are uniquely positioned because they’re unafraid to try things and to figure things out,” Brown said. “You know, some might argue, how do these kids know whether or not they want to go into a STEM field or pursue a STEM pathway? This really is about critical-thinking and problem-solving.”
The funding was obtained through a Cuyahoga County preschool enrichment program. The district hopes their program will inspire other schools in Northeast Ohio and around the country to incorporate STEM in pre-K education.
An open house for community members and families to check out the Fab Lab will be held on Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Early Learning Center is located at 22800 Fox Avenue in Euclid.