Akiba Schechter opens for creativity and technology

Dr. Elizier Jones, head of Akiba Schechter Jewish Day School, 5235 S. Cornell Ave., cuts the ribbon opening the school’s Makerspace during its grand opening ceremony on Sunday. (Photo by Marc Monaghan)

Contributing Writer

Akiba Schechter, 5235 S. Cornell, opened its Makerspace on Sunday.

Eliezer Jones, head of school, said the goal of the space is to spark the students’ creativity. “One of our core values is teaching children, not subjects. We focus on the individual child, and we value creativity,” he said. “To celebrate childhood you have to celebrate creativity.”

Jones said the Makerspace was a natural evolution of that. He said it would allow the students to create in different ways and prepare them for the changing world.

“The more familiar they are with these technologies, the more prepared for the world they will be,” Jones said.

It took a year to research the design for the Makerspace, which is part of the school’s library. The work was done throughout the summer months. Jones said the idea was to integrate it into the library and keep the books.

Everything is on wheels so it will be easy to reconfigure the space. Some of the features include everything from 3D printers to soldering irons and materials for arts and crafts. There is room for 32 kids at a time to work on hands-on projects.

“The idea is that we want as many opportunities for kids to come in here and create things,” Jones said. “In this space, we want kids to learn how to work better together — problem solving, critical thinking.”

Izzy Blair is an eighth grader at the school. She said the coolest piece of equipment in the space  is the 3D printer.

“3D printers are pretty cool. Kids can use them to make whatever they want and be creative,” she said. “In the Makerspace you can make whatever you want. It gives you the freedom to be creative.”

Jones said there are plans to roll out access to the Makerspace to the community.

“We’re going to try some open Makerspace on some Sundays,” he said.