Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lego Robotics at All Around Learning Center Review

Every year I search for a summer camp that will engage my children in appropriate social and educational activities.  Before mommyhood I was a hard core teacher.  I've always held high standards for myself in all that I do and my teaching career was no different.   I was obsessed, working sunrise to sunset (literally), to create the ultimate learning environment for my students.

Now an at home mom, I provide daily opportunities for fun and learning.  In addition to these "impromptu" learning moments, I believe that children benefit from exposure to a educational activities in a nurturing social environment during the summer.

Therefore, I enroll them in short camps/classes to provide enrichment during the summer.  Finding one that meets my high expectations is easier said than done.

My daughter just completed her first week long Adv Jr Robotics camp at All Around Learning center.  I am happy to report that my search for an educationally exciting class, that my children jump out of bed for, is over.

What happens when you combine scientific learning with the fun of Lego construction?  

Adv Jr. Robotics
This challenging robotics class guides children through scientific concepts while building robotic Lego projects that move!  It is much more than handing a child instructions and letting them build.  This 2 1/2 hour per day, one week long camp at All Around Learning Center emphasizes learning in a relaxed nurturing environment.

All Around Learning Center is an educational company offering classes throughout the year focused on math, reading and writing.  Since they are a learning center, focus is placed on educational concepts and exploration.

On the first day of the class, the teacher gauges each child's abilities while introducing the day's objective. Students typically work with a partner, however groups are altered based on the social and learning needs of the students.  Throughout the week, the teacher monitors curriculum progress, social interactions, and learning styles. 

Curriculum Accommodations

The Adv. Jr. Robotics class has 15 different project options that vary in level of difficulty.  This allows students to begin at their level and advance at an appropriate pace. I was impressed with the variety of combinations available to create a fun challenging experience.

My daughter loved all of the projects she created.  Her first project was a crane that bobbed up and down, pictured to the right.  The excitement on her face, telling me about each project, was priceless. 

The level of the projects was difficult for my son.  Instead of having him be a bystander, he was instructed with a gears project.

The gears program is not typically part of the Adv. Jr. Robotics class, however this accommodation allowed my son to succeed and improve his skills.

After the first class, the owner of the learning center explained why the accommodation had been made and how gears prepared him for more complicated projects.  She wanted to ensure that I was comfortable with this change in curriculum and also offered the option of moving him to a more introductory level class.

Wow, they went the extra mile to ensure that my son was learning at his level!!! 

Gear Project - Level Adaptation for my son
I know that many teachers would have simply let him become an observer, saying nothing to the parent.  This is one aspect of All Around Learning Center that has sold me on their classes.  They do not want the children to simply sit there, in hope of absorbing information.  Instead, they go the extra mile to create appropriate hands on learning experiences for each child.

The end result - my son was excited about completing his first gear project, pictured to the left.  When I arrived he proudly exclaimed, "Mom, look what I did - I got it to work.  I did it!"

Instead of being an onlooker and feeling left out, my son was able to succeed, feel the sense of accomplishment, and learn skills for more difficult projects. In my book that is what summer camps and enrichment classes are all about!

Details that Make the Difference

During my observations I kept discovering "little things" that made a big difference. Each child wears a name tag that lists all of their classes.  For students enrolled in more than one class, the teacher employs this information to make curriculum connections and aid in transitions from one class to the next.

Teachers took the time to make eye contact with students and use their name when praising accomplishments.  My children's teacher constantly moved around the room, observing and smiling.  I loved hearing the encouragement and teacher/child interactions!  It was apparent that the teachers cared about the students and their success.

"Let them Eat Cake."  NOT!
Part way through the class they enjoy a snack break. This short break, not only allows students to hydrate while eating a healthy snack, but also offers an opportunity for them to discuss their projects. 
Monday's Snack - Apple & Cheez-its

I am a firm believer in regular hydration and feeding your brain. There is a connection between brain function and regular intake of water/healthy foods.  My children have been in many classes where the provided snack was high in sugar with little nutritional value. That was not the case at All Around Learning Center.  The owner stated strives to offer healthy, kid friendly food.

Snacks were provided by the learning center without an additional charge.  I found them to be large enough for growing children and liked that each snack was prepackaged.  My children enjoyed the variety of snacks each day, which says a lot for my picky eaters.

Lunch was also provided without an additional charge for students enrolled in more than one class overlapping lunch time.  This supervised 30 minute lunch break from 1:00-1:30 allowed students to socialize and recharge.  I felt this was a wonderful deal for children taking a 10:30-1:00 and 1:30-4:00 class. 

It's Personal

Kate, the owner of All Around Learning Center did not lock herself in an office. She was there everyday, ensuring that everything ran smoothly.  I enjoyed observing her interactions with students and parents.  On the first day of camp, it was obvious that several of the children had attended past weeks.  She greeted them by name and engaged in conversations about their hobbies and interests.

Kate spoke with parents, checked on classes, and continued to be actively involved in her program.  I have spoken with Kate concerning many aspects of her learning center and am impressed with her dedication and desire for each student to have a positive experience.

While each class is 2 1/2 hours per day, they can be combined to create a longer camp experience.  During the summer, camp fun runs from 8am to 6:30 pm. However they do not want anyone to miss out.  If you need to drop off your child before 8am contact them and ask to speak to Kate.  She will do her best to work with you and find a soluciton.

Kids Tell It Like It Is

I was worried that it would be difficult to wake my children from their summer slumber for our 8am class.  I was pleasantly surprised, watching my children rush around, without me having to say a word.  We typically arrived very early, since my children were ready to go (if only they did this every day during the school year).

While waiting for class to begin, I listened to other early arrivals, who also appeared anxious to begin each day.  I found myself looking forward to this "waiting time," as I overheard children discussing the awesome projects they were completing in their class.

One of the boys constantly talked about the "Mixing Magic" class.  He excitedly shared, with anyone who would listen, about the previous day's experiments and what they were going to do that day.  My daughter's eyes grew wide as she listened to the detailed account of rockets and volcanoes.  Since the class is for children ages 8-14, she has already requested that I enroll her as soon as she is old enough.

I highly recommend the Adv Jr Robotics camp at All Around Learning Center! 

But don't take my word for it:

My Son: "Mom, it was hard at first, but they made it better and now I can do it.  I really made it move.  Can we go back tomorrow?"

My Daughter: "That was so much fun.  Everything there is awesome!  Can I do it again?  I loved it!"

Just Do It
As you can see, my children are hooked on All Around Learning Center.  I have finally found a program that beautifully combines learning and fun.  I highly recommend trying a class.

All Around Learning Center: 

Call or Text: 480 833-7338

School Year Fun: If your summer is already full call or text All Around Learning Center at 480 833-7338 to learn about classes offered during the school year.

Make sure you mention that Ramblings of Mama sent you for a special offer!

Check out more posts about All Around Learning Center's Adv Jr Robotics class:

Click here for my First Impressions of Adv Jr Robotics Class

Click here for Project Pictures and Quotes from students

Who Do You Know That Would LOVE to take this Adv. Jr. Robotics Class???

Disclosure: No additional compensation beyond admittance to class was received for this posting. Ramblings of Mama will always provide honest opinions, beliefs and/or experiences on products reviewed. We will only recommend products or services that we feel are of benefit to our readers. If you have any questions, please contact Heather RamblingsOfHeather {at} gmail {dot} com

1 comment:

  1. Robotics is wonderful for children. Kudos to you for being interested in these kinds of things!


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