LEGO Builders’ Program Serves As Unique Learning Tool
“If I didn’t have this, half my life would be changed, ‘cause I’ve spent half my life inside here building with the LEGOS.” That’s the voice of 4th grader Jack Herold describing his thoughts about the LEGO Builders’ Program at the Highland County Public Library. Usually held once a month, a small dedicated group of 1st through 5th graders rush in to the library to assemble the popular building toys in to all kinds of creations. Jack’s mom and Library Director, Tomi Herold, has more. She says, “Basically, it’s meant to be a free-choice kind of programming where the kids can come in, and we have a nice collection of library LEGO, and they can devise their own ideas, bring them from concept to finished product by themselves or with help from others, and at the end, they like to show off their progress to me or for the camera. We try to do it right after school. The bus lets most of the kids off here, and, so, it’s usually 3:45 to 4:45.
“Every once in a while, we’ll do something we call a LEGO Challenge where we give them a card or a specific goal, and they might have thirty pieces to create something resembling a car or, you know, create the letter ‘F’ or something like that, and then, whoever does the best job of that as judged by the nearest adult we can reach, they might win a prize.”
If there’s no competition, it’s a free-play atmosphere that serves as a unique learning tool. Ms. Herold continues, “We want them to express their creativity. This kind of programming falls under the idea of the STEM Programming, which is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and it’s because they’re being creative and building, going from concept to how can I make this idea work given the materials that I have in front of me, and, so, there’s a lot of critical thinking and spatial challenges to what they’re doing.”
For example, Jack describes a project. He says, “We made a truck and a trailer that had a lounge and places to store the cars, like, for racing.”
So, where do all the LEGOS come from? “In the beginning, we asked for donations, and as most Moms will tell you, their kids are really loath to get rid of LEGOs, so we ended up having to purchase a collection to get started,” explains Ms. Herold. “But since then, there have been some young fellows who have grown up enough to part with their collection, and we’ve been the beneficiaries of several different donations of collections of LEGO, which, I have to say, is very exciting for the kids because they know the collection here very well and when something new comes in, they know it.” Jack confirms by saying, “With all the LEGOs that just got donated, I really like this!”
Besides the LEGO Builders’ Program, they also have other after-school programming at the library. Ms. Herold concludes, “We do a ‘Maker Monday,’ which is a similar sort of thing to LEGO, but it’s all different kinds of creative STEM building toys, and then, we have our after-school crafts and after-school movies, so, generally, we have something going every week here for the kids during the school year, and then, of course, the summer reading program.”
The next LEGO Builder’s Program is on Tuesday, April 30, 2019 from 3:45 – 4:45 p.m. People can view photos of the group’s creations on the library’s Facebook page. To learn more about other services, people can go online to https://highlandlibrary.homestead.com.
Photo courtesy of Highland County Public Library