LEGO Program Builds Skills, Knowledge, and Confidence
"It is the LEGO philosophy that 'good quality play' enriches a child's life—and lays the foundation for later adult life. We believe that play is a key element in children's growth and development as well as stimulates the imagination and the emergence of ideas and creative expression."
While Lower School Science Educator Jane Kenney-Norberg clearly believes in LEGO's mission to inspire young children, she is also committed to sharing the benefits of these beloved building toys with community members of all ages. This personal ethos of hers was on display last Friday, when the Lower School Performance Commons, her science classroom, and even some of the hallway spaces were all filled with student-built projects for the annual OES LEGO Show.
Over sixty OES students from the ages of eight to 17 are participating in this year's LEGO program, now in its 27th year. When asked how many different class options exist for those interested, Kenney-Norberg pauses. "Well, let's count," she muses. "there's Independent Study, there's Builders, Friday, 123, Robotics, LOBO—we sometimes have to have a class called Crickets, which is a different building system—and sometimes an NXT class. So that's seven."
One of the program participants is Evie C., an OES fourth grader interested in mechanizing LEGO sets. Kenney-Norberg works with her one-on-one each week in an independent study to encourage the natural creativity present in Evie's building. At the LEGO show, Evie explained the different components of a pizzeria she'd built. "It's a pizza factory, with a conveyor belt that makes the boxes go. This figurine makes the pizzas, and then there's the door that moves." When queried as to how she came up with the idea, Evie insisted that it's not because of a love of pepperoni and cheese. "I first built it," she notes, "and then thought, 'What can I do with a conveyor belt?'"
The OES LEGO program students will be showcasing their work at the Oregon Zoo on June 2nd and 3rd, so if you missed the on-campus show be sure to swing by and see the sets in action!
"Thank you, Class of 2019, for being a class that inspires the future," Head of Upper School Asha Appel said of the graduating seniors.
"This is a group that is always changing, learning, and growing," Head of Middle School Ann Sulzer said about the Class of 2023. "It has really been an honor to see them grow into who they are becoming."
"This class embodies a wonderful combination of qualities," Head of Lower School David Lowell says. "Curiosity, joy, and the ability to know when there's important work to do."
The Class of 2019 spent some of their last days in school on a rafting trip in Central Oregon this week. They camped, hiked, played music, and spent quality time with each other to celebrate some of their last moments together as Upper Schoolers at OES.