Matt's Maker Space was founded by the Conover family to honor the memory of their son, Matt, Mt. Lebanon resident and former student of St. Paul's Episcopal Nursery School. Matt Conover died in 2002 at the age of 12 after a nine-month battle with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Since then, the Conover family has worked to give back to the community that supported and comforted them in their loss. During Matt's illness, his youngest sister Anna was attending St. Paul's Nursery School and the school staff as well as the St. Paul's community walked alongside the Conovers during the very sad and difficult season.
Matt like many young children loved to create and when given the materials, space and opportunity made some rather spectacular creations. We are honored and excited about the addition of Matt's Maker Space to the nursery school this fall.
A maker space is a term that grew popular about 10 years ago. It is a hands-on place where students can use materials and simple tools to make crafts or to solve problems and apply STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. "Making", sometimes called "tinkering" is a natural fit for a play-based program such as St. Paul's Nursery School. It supports the school's "hands-on" approach to learning and will provide a dedicated creative space, filled with interesting new materials and tools, allowing the nursery school children an opportunity to create, invent and of course learn.
Young children are natural "makers" and St. Paul's teachers have been providing opportunities to create, engineer and fabricate long before it was officially labeled "making". Our school encourages child-led projects that are open-ended making the experience more meaningful to children and fostering depth in their learning.
The maker space will be similar to those in the seven Mt. Lebanon elementary schools and the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. In addition to the one at the nursery school there are two more Matt's Maker Space rooms set to open this year; one at Our Clubhouse in Pittsburgh's Strip District and another at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.
We are both honored and thrilled to be working with the Conover family and The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh to create Matt's Maker Space at St. Paul's Nursery School. The Conovers will join us on Sunday, September 23rd as we bless this project and they will share a bit more about their journey during Adult Forum.
Director, St. Paul's Episcopal Nursery School