NYSCI’s Maker Therapy is an innovative program that bridges education and health care. The program provides children in long-term hospital care with creative outlets and learning opportunities through the use of mobile makerspaces. Giving children the authority to create something of personal meaning and value enhances their feelings of efficacy and autonomy. It also encourages social interaction with others, and improves patient health care by increasing physical mobility.
The goals of Maker Therapy are to:
NYSCI mobile makerspaces are designed to provide a variety of physical and digital materials that children can explore in their hospital rooms. Children are invited to use these materials and devices to pose and solve personally meaningful problems. This new and innovative type of learning experience is unlike any other educational service currently provided by hospitals.
The mobile makerspaces are colorful and bright workstations filled with engaging items and materials that encourage collaboration. Maker Therapy offerings follow NYSCI’s Design-Make-Play philosophy of learning and engagement:
Design: Children pose and solve problems that are meaningful to them, driving their own learning.
Make: Children engage in hands-on learning and problem solving with a variety of materials and devices.
Play: Children are physically active and playful as they design and make.
Over an 18-month period, a pilot program involving mobile makerspaces was conducted at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Tennessee. Program managers trained and collaborated with doctors, nurses, hospital teachers, respiratory therapists, healthcare providers and volunteers. The program worked with children who had a variety of chronic illnesses and who were between the ages of 7 and 17.
The major findings of this program were:
Maker Therapy will initially being implemented in a handful of local hospitals. Eventually, the scale of the project will be widened to include hospitals around the country. The next steps for the project include:
For more information about this project, contact Gokul Krishnan.