As the education world explores different ways to equip students with knowledge and training, Idea Lab Kids provides an emphasis on STEAM — science, technology, arts and math.
“Idea Lab Kids is an after-school enrichment program for kids between kindergarten and eighth grade providing a STEM-based curriculum, like science, technology, engineering and math,” said owner Herbert Liu.
Liu said he wanted a jumpstart program for kids to get an early experience before they attend high school and college, where STEM programs usually begin.
Liu has also integrated an art program into the curriculum so his students can begin generating creativity.
“Art fosters imagination and creativity. When you’re doing innovation, art requires that. You need to be able to stimulate that side of your brain as well,” he said.
Though the staff members at Idea Lab Kids are not specialized in a certain area of STEAM, Liu said it’s important for teachers to connect and collaborate with their students.
“Even though they’re certified teachers, it’s more important that our staff members work well with children and can engage with them. The kids get more fun out of it,” he said.
Liu mentions all projects given to their students are result-oriented so it encourages them in the long run.
“There’s a lot of great programs out there geared toward a certain part of STEM. What I like about this program is that we’re very encompassing in providing (courses) for everything. It gives a chance for kids to try everything out,” said Liu.
Idea Lab Kids offers hands-on classes like investigative science, cooking different recipes from around the world, 3D printing and program building.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, Liu said the Idea Lab Kids facility has been closed but shifted toward an online program so kids are able to continue to enrich their learning experience.
“We put packets together so the kids can meet online through Zoom. It’s an interesting development,” he said.
The educational facility reopened to the public on June 1, but with new health guidelines to make it a safe and clean environment for their students, like taking their temperatures upon arrival, running small class with limited students and sanitizing objects before and after use.
Parents are able to select the classes they want or choose a monthly membership.
Liu hopes to take Idea Lab Kids further by partnering with the school districts so that all schools have a STEAM program for their students.
“I’d like to be integrated into our school systems so that kids will get to stay after school and give them the chance to enrich their minds,” he said. ￼