Hello, Families!

How are your kids doing? We hope everyone is healthy and well!

For most of us, we’re in our 3rd week of schooling at home. I know we’re all adjusting to the new challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic and the need for all of us to practice social distancing. And it looks like we’re going to need to continue with the closing of schools and much of daily life for at least another month.

New Online STEM Programs Begin Next Week!

We’ve been working to help respond to the current situation by developing a number of virtual programs for our students and their families. Our goal first is to help meet the need for new activities at home that let your kids stay engaged in STEM learning while also letting them connect with friends and other like-minded students in a kind of virtual playdate.

Our new virtual offerings will also let us keep the continuity in various of our programs, especially chess and robotics. We are very pleased with the progress of our students on both our chess and robotics teams and want to ensure that both returning and new students have the opportunity to continue to develop their skills and knowledge this spring.

Once things open back up, we will transition back to in-person classes and sessions at our center. 

We’re also looking to continue to offer online options in the future, as this format may actually redress commuting issues for families and students who live farther from our center.

Please continue to read below for more information about our virtual programs. While for the moment we can’t meet in person, it’s nice to have the technology to meet online and continue to participate in activities that kids love, enjoy, and benefit from.

Virtual Minecraft

Minecraft Madness! Course

Minecraft Mini Camp

April courses would have marked the first month that our Friday Minecraft Madness! sessions would have switched to 1.5 hours.

To accommodate our Madness! kids, we’ve started our own Minecraft server that is accessible from homes. Similar to our in-class course, we will meet virtually on Fridays, 4:30-6:00pm and each month will incorporate new worlds.

To participate in our virtual course, children will need their own Minecraft account (a one time fee of $27 via Microsoft) and will need to join our server via their computers (the server is only for the Java edition of Minecraft and not for other devices, e.g., phone, tablet, xbox). 

If your child was registered for our March course, there were 2 classes remaining before we were forced to stop running our programs. Let us know if you want to use up the 2 classes with our April online Minecraft; otherwise, we will schedule make-up sessions as soon as we are able.

Minecraft Tournament

While we were forced to cancel our previously scheduled tournament, we are working on having an online tournament available. More information coming soon!

Virtual Chess

Thanks to technology, we can teach chess and have kids play chess virtually.

In the past, we’ve only offered chess via our chess team; however, with the institution of the shelter-at-home policy, we felt it would be nice to have children who were new or novice players take advantage of the shutdown and learn how to play this fun game of strategy.

This is also true for our more advanced players as well as our chess team members. Although we cannot meet in person, we can still learn and play together virtually.

Chess Course

In line with our monthly enrichment courses, we are now offering chess courses available for registration on a monthly basis. The course will encompass class meetings via Zoom as well as access to an online chess program that will offer puzzles, lessons, and the ability for the kids in the class to play against each other.

Chess Team

For our winter chess team, we had one more class meeting prior to our forced closing. For those members, we will start our spring online chess program one week early and provide you access to our virtual class. Thereafter, we hope you will register for our Spring Online Chess Team program. Similar to our monthly chess courses, the team will meet on Tuesdays, 5:30-7:00pm. We will meet via Zoom and also incorporate chess puzzles, lessons, and play sessions against each other. Members will also receive a full membership to the online chess program during the spring cycle. 

Virtual Robotics

virtual robotics

Robotics Development Team

The focus this cycle will be on programming the robots. Children will learn to program an ev3 robot virtually by using a special robotics application. This robotics simulation software, which will include the First LEGO League (FLL) challenge mat, City Shaper, allows children to design, build and program virtual LEGO Mindstorms creations, without the need for a physical robot.

The program is for 10 weeks. The team will meet on Zoom on Monday and Thursday nights and team members will also be actively involved in working on team projects between these sessions.

At the end of the cycle, team members will be divided into small groups where they will compete against each other, similar to the FLL robotics mission competition.

Please visit our website for detail information and registration.

Stay safe and be well!