Afterschool Opportunity: Build It Redding Offers Creative Fun with Technology

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Faye Hall knew her daughter and son, now 12 and 13 years old, were bright and curious. Yet she noticed they weren’t learning some things well in school due to the format in which they were being taught. And since neither child was interested in sports, their choices for extra-curricular activities were limited. So when Faye and her family moved to Redding three years ago, she opened Build It with her husband Dave.

Build It isn’t about getting the best GPA, nor is it about performance. Rather, it’s a place that “fans the flames of creativity in each child” through technology.

With a background in computer programming, Faye wants to dispel the myth that technology is hard. Build It camps and after-school classes give children the tools to discover what interests them, whether it is 3-D printing, robotics, computer programming or film-making. Children often work with no end goal or agenda, learning and exploring within specified time limits. 

art-0914-buildit2Build It’s classes are geared mostly toward 6- to 16-year-olds, assuring kids are close enough in age to enjoy each other socially. Birthday party packages can be customized for ages 6-18, and an advanced Python coding workshop is offered to youth up to age 16. Code It boot camps are available for adults too. 

Faye has observed that children are often categorized unfairly and unwisely according to gender, and she would like to see more girls attend Build It camps and workshops. Both boys and girls are interested in using technology in creative ways, and can benefit greatly from the processes. Faye notes that during an All-Girls Maker Camp, planned traditional crafts activities were rejected in favor of a Lego Robotics session. 

Beginning in September, a computer programming language called Scratch will be taught in weekly 2-hour after-school classes. Other classes offered include Brickfilm Stop-Motion Animation, in which children make a storyboard, pick out props, and learn film and sound editing and how to use a green screen. 

Build It’s 3-D Printing class uses Minecraft and Tinkercad (a simple design program), and participants can print out what they build. In Lego Robotics classes, builders can program their robots to be voice or light activated, as well as to do all kinds of interesting moves. Classes that span a sampling of all offerings are also available, and schools are invited to bring their students for field trips exploring technology.

Some children go beyond what is taught and really excel, so Faye hopes to add an even higher level of computer programming to Build It’s class schedule. She observes that children experience a sense of freedom working beside their peers without competition – they teach each other, which reinforces what they learn.

Faye thinks it’s a good time for this generation to find new opportunities in technology, and she’s determined to encourage entrepreneurship and creativity in the young people attending Build It. “Until now, most kids have been passively playing games and never see there is a whole other avenue. When they realize they can program their own games, it’s like a light bulb goes off. These kids are becoming administrators and will grow up to get some of the best computer jobs.”  

Faye’s enthusiasm about Build It’s programs shines through as she guides kids to become more engaged in powerful ways. It’s also reflected in Build It’s mission “to empower the younger generation to master technology, unlock creativity, and live a limitless life.”

Build It is located at 925 Merchant St. #2, in Redding, CA. Visit http://www.builditredding.com or call (530) 638-3399.  

Kimberley Harper
About Kimberley Harper

Writer Kimberley Harper lives with her family and her cats in Siskiyou County. In her work in support of artists, she has come to a deep appreciation of the value of arts in the community.

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