Kids are the future
SudoKids is the children’s program at Sudo Room, a community hackerspace in downtown Oakland located at 2141 Broadway. As of Summer 2013, SudoKids happens every Tuesday night from 6-8:30PM (dinner at 5PM). Additionally, SudoKids outdoor chapter happens every Sunday from 10-11:30AM in the garden and yard of a sudoer's home in West Oakland (2429 Adeline). SudoKids is free of charge and open to anyone (although we will happily take donations!). To join, just drop by on a Tuesday night - we'd be happy to meet you and your kids. If you'd like to learn more or have any questions, feel free to email SudoKids facilitators Ray Lai (raymond.wm.lai @ gmail.com) and/or Marina Kukso (marina.kukso @ gmail.com).
What kinds of things do we do at SudoKids and what are we all about?
- We see children as the agents of their own learning and growth. We seek to nurture the awareness, skills, and confidence that allow children to see themselves as empowered agents of their own growth.
- The hackerspace philosophy is a part of the foundational DNA of SudoKids. We believe that empowerment comes from learning and making things, collaborating with others, learning and creating together, and exploring lots of different forms of creativity. Kids are natural engineers and artists. We help them see this and help them make their goals real (all while hopefully teaching some lessons about collaboration and learning!).
- Children are a part of our learning community and we are interested in integrating them into the activities of our hackerspace - giving them ownership of the space and making them feel as if they are a part of our community. At SudoKids children interact with the adult members of our space as the adults go about their everyday hacking.
- We create a project-driven learning environment that includes a mixture of activities organized by the facilitators and projects/learning objectives identified by the learners themselves.
- We provide a mix of structured and unstructured activities. We provide structured activities and workshops (calligraphy, radio, clay, art, mate-brewing, gardening, homestead-keeping) along with the opportunity to freely interact with our community of sudoers - people who are always learning and making, people who share their knowledge freely and are open to collaboration on the spot (“what are you working on?” is perhaps the most commonly-asked question after “anyone seen the tape?”). We create opportunities for serendipitous moments of learning and collaboration between adult members of our community and SudoKids participants.
- We aim to create an environment where a child can come to us with a project or something that she wants to learn and we are able to provide the resources and guidance to help her achieve her goal (along with some confidence and ideas about how she might go about accomplishing similar goals in the future!).
- We want parents too! Sudo Kids is a part of the Sudo Room community and we certainly hope that by providing a child-appropriate environment at Sudo Room that we also provide an opportunity for parents to hack and learn without having to worry about making arrangements for childcare or worry about kids putting themselves in vices while they turn away (although this cannot be guaranteed! :)).
Where do we want to go from here?
We love our current weekly activities, but we want to grow! Our goal is to have many more kids and families be a part of the Sudo Room community & Sudo Kids. We are working towards expanding our group of facilitators to allow us to work with more children. We are building our curriculum and defining a future direction. In keeping with Sudo Room's commitment to community access, we currently offer Sudo Kids for free. We are all also volunteers and do all of our activities without a budget. As we create our program, we are also keenly aware of the need to identify a funding model that will allow us to expand, mostly to meet our biggest goal: to open a dedicated SudoKids space in the same building as Sudo Room to provide a dedicated child-oriented space within the larger Sudo Room community. As we do this, we are documenting our activities to demonstrate the possibilities of our approach and to help others who are interested in creating empowering learning environments.
What does our ultimate vision look like? It looks like city-wide transformation. We literally have no idea what could happen if every child in Oakland had a supportive learning community and the tools and resources to explore, build, and create with the guidance of caring adults. This is a farmer’s market in north carolina that was designed and built entirely by students. What would the children and youth of Oakland build if we gave them a warehouse full of tools and supplies and the knowledge that they could build anything that they wanted? What if a space for learning and making, each with its own character and style, existed in every neighborhood? What if it existed on every block?
Future Activities & Program Needs
Ideas for Future Activities
-scratch based computer games
-cardboard box imaginarium
-cities & homes
-things that go (fast) rocket ships, cars, light cycles
-stores and lemonade stands
-theater of squishy
-obleck: cornstarch n water
-gack: borax and glue
-fire from friction - bow drill method
-video with special fx
-stop motion movie
-lighting design with LEDs
-whittling with sharp knives ;)
-creating density columns
-astronomy telescopes - navigation from stars, astrolabs, compass
- what can we make out of duct tape???
- let's make videos
- let's do a play!
- 3D printing
-house made playdoughs (glow in the dark)
-Popsicle sticks n tongue depressors
-pipe cleaners multiple colors and in glitter
-crayons (house made)
-protractors, rulers, compasses
-paint, brushes, smocks (large shirts)
-wooden science oriented toys (telescope, microscopes, stethescopes)
-wooden molecules, double helix
- Child-oriented craft workstation: http://boingboing.net/2013/01/08/build-a-kid-crafts-studio-for.html
- Youtubes of weekend science activities: http://www.youtube.com/user/chuvak1?feature=watch