STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and MakerSpace 

By Betsy Saatman, TA Specialist/SAC Initiatives (Guest Blogger)

1989: Alicia Custodio, a volunteer for Upward Fund, an organization that runs after school programs in East Harlem, New York, was observed helping children with the use of a computer.

2019: Three boys at Tobyhanna Mountain Center practice computer engineering in their afterschool program. 

30 Years go by
As does our way of teaching and learning! Pennsylvania has numerous SAC (School Age Care) programs experimenting with STEM and MakerSpace during their out of school time. 

The chart below illustrates the direct connection of the PA Career Ready Skills to those robust employability skills needed for employment and adult life. This experience equips students in pursuit of their career opportunities with confidence and to contribute positively to their communities.


Career Ready Skills  Related Employability Skills 
Self-Awareness & Self-Management
Recognize and regulate emotions 
Respect, Dependability & Reliability, Communication, Professionalism, Teamwork, Integrity, Business Fundamentals, Adaptability, Initiative, Planning & Organizing 
Establishing and Maintaining Relationships
Communicate and collaborate amongst diversity 
Problem Solving, Decision Making, Critical Thinking, Integrity, Teamwork, Adaptability, Professionalism, Communication, Respect 
Social Problem-Solving Skills
Demonstrate empathy and respectful choice 
Teamwork, Integrity, Communication, Respect, Customer Focus, Critical Thinking, Professionalism, Reading, Writing, Problem Solving 

STEM/MakerSpace in SAC can be playground for building employa,bility skills. Throughout a typical year, children spend 20% of their time in school, 20in SAC and 60% in other settings.  

Definition: The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) defines STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) as an integrated, interdisciplinary, and student-centered approach to learning that encourages curiosity, creativity, artistic expression, collaboration, communication, problem solving, critical thinking, and design thinking. 

“To define a school MakerSpace by its purpose and simplest of terms, it is a place where young people have an opportunity to explore their own interests; learn to use tools and materials, both physical and virtual; and develop creative projects.” – Laura Flemming, Worlds of Making 

Mind Changing?
What role can your SAC program play in supporting the development of career ready skills?
What types of STEM activities can you incorporate in your daily offerings?
How can you create a MakerSpace or furnish a mobile MakerSpace cart within your SAC program? 

*Images are from Pocono Services for Families and Children Pocono Services for Families and Children (PSFC), Tobyhanna, PA  

Betsy O. Saatman has worked in the School Age Child Care field for over 25 years as a teacher of 4-6 grade, an administrator of multi-sites, 9 years as an Environment Rating Scale Assessor, and is currently a TA Specialist with the School Age Projects through the PA Key. She possesses a Master’s in Teaching and curriculum, has presented at the National level and is currently active on PSAYDN’s Steering Committee/Quality Committee, a Board member of PENNSACCA and a Riley,White Peterson Fellow. 

Tags : after-schoolengineeringmathmathematicsscienceSTEMtechnology

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