Over the past few weeks, Kelly Bulbulkaya (@kbulbulkaya) and I have been working with a delightful group of 3rd/4th grade girls in our first girls-only maker-space club at Eakin. I have learned so much watching these girls explore electrical circuits, Lego kits, and projects of their own making. Mistakes have been made. Dead ends have been encountered. We have often had rethink, rebuild, or begin again. However, throughout it all these 8 and 9 year old girls have soared. I have marveled at the way they have collaborated and encouraged each other without the strain of competition.
In fact, their zeal and unbridled enthusiasm has been contagious. It has made me wonder what happened to that curious “me” who surely long ago had the same enthusiasm and curiosity. Was it self-doubt that nestled in my spirit? Perhaps it was a discouraging teacher or maybe just an educational system that replaced my natural curiosity with a fear of failure? Whatever it was…I have found a renewed sense of urgency to quell this “winner take all” reward system we still sometimes adhere to in education. I want us to build on our girls’ strengths by stimulating their imaginations, encouraging them to take risks, and nurture their natural tendency to collaborate. Surely if we, as educators, parents, and grandparents can do that…we will raise a generation of women who are not only capable but willing to solve some of our toughest problems.