MOUNT VERNON — The Science Play-Space Initiative has moved to 227 S. Main St., next to Paragraph’s Bookstore, from its former location at 14 S. Main St.
SPI Spot Programming Space will soon be open at 225 S. Main St. for special activities and summer camps. This new location will offer a larger area for science exploration and play, as well as expanded hours of operation, contingent upon the hiring of extra staff.
SPI was recently awarded two grants from our community: a Youth Philanthropy Grant through the Community Foundation of Mount Vernon & Knox County and one from the Ariel Foundation. The Ariel Foundation grant has made it possible for SPI to relocate to a more spacious location, and will allow it to be open more hours, as well as offer more significant programming for children and families. The Youth Philanthropy Grant will enable SPI to purchase Lego engineering kits, and circuit and robotics equipment.
SPI’s mission is to bring people together to explore science and technology through play. The SPI Spot currently provides an engaging, low-cost community learning environment for children under 7 years old, but seeks to improve offerings for school age children, especially during summer. These special Lego kits use more sophisticated parts than traditional Legos allowing older visitors to build more sophisticated structures.
The robotics (Cubelets) and logical circuits (Little Bits) equipment is high-tech, challenging and engaging, yet does not require a computer interface. This advantage allows its use for outreach activities in addition to use at SPI Spot. SPI will now be able to evaluate this equipment for durability, engagement and learning value for our summer programs with our visitors by testing, observation and conversations with users.
Watch for more news to come about planned summer activities such as a Lego Camp (back by popular demand from last year), the Girl Scouts’ Space Camp, and Camp Invention, an outreach program of the United States Patent Office. Requests for other camp proposals presented in partnership with local school faculty may be submitted via the application found at www.spispot.org.