7 Benefits of a Builder’s Education

7 Benefits of a Builder’s Education

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Our team at Construction Kids in Brooklyn works year round with little builders ages 4-9 at our summer camps, holiday programs, school programs, and birthday parties.  We design programs, introduce materials, and teach tool usage that matches our builders’ cognitive, physical and social development ages.

The two most frequent questions we receive at Construction Kids are:

  1. How does a Maker education benefit students?
  2. Why do we run a year-round educational company that uses hammers and nails as our medium of instruction?

Both are great questions that speak to the Construction Kids mission.

Our motto at CK is “Old School Tools, New School Learning”. This line perfectly encapsulates who we are and what we believe as educators. Our program is a break from the digital distractions that have invaded our children’s lives in school and at home. We want children to explore using their senses. We want them to communicate and interact person-to-person without a screen in between them and world.

To accomplish our mission, Construction Kids teaches year-round because hands-on Maker education has unique characteristics that supplements classroom learning. For some students, especially low-income students and those with special behavioral needs, hands-on learning is the only form of education that can engage them positively, regardless of their particular background, family circumstance, and physical or emotional needs.

According to a study by Robert C. Knott (Ed.D. Science Curriculum Improvement Study 3, University of California, Berkeley) a Maker education includes the following benefits:

  • Students have an even playing field on which to participate. 
  • Every individual relies on a similar set of experiences regardless of their socio-economic status.
  • Students are forced to think by requiring interpretation of the observed events, rather than memorization of correct responses.
  • Students are encouraged to question observed events and the resulting data.
  • Students practice cause-and-effect thinking.
  • Students rely less on authority and more on practical experience. 
  • With practical experience in generating hypotheses and planning experiments, students will be better able to make independent decisions later in life.

We believe these benefits, and many others, empower students and enhance the educational experience when hands-on making is integrated into their curriculum.  

The choice of hammers and nails as our medium for instruction is essential to how we teach. We could have chosen other materials, but hammers and nails provide unique challenges, stimuli, and opportunities for our students.

The process of building, with hard materials, requires that students learn how to control their bodies against hard surfaces and forces. Specifically, students are forced to consider how their body is positioned relative to the building materials and to consider the forces they need to exert, relative to the force presented by the building material. For example, if a student is hammering two pieces of wood together they must position themselves in a way to generate enough force to accomplish the task. Building with wood and nails gives children the time and practice that enables them to acquire dexterity, spatial awareness and discipline of their body.

Additionally, hammer and nail building teaches children to revise, adapt, fix and alter designs and ideas. Having to revise and repair allows failure to be addressed intrinsically in the process because mistakes – and initial failure—are a part of building. Understanding this process –  mistakes, failure, revision and repair – is a skill that they can take with them to the rest of their pursuits.

Lately, it seems the educational world has started to recognize the value of hands-on learning and our approach—letting children explore new materials, take risks, and manage failure as a way to find ultimate success. We could not be happier to see this transition.  


Tony Kent

COO/Chief Builder Construction Kids

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