Parents’ Guide to Year-Round STEM Classes in Massachusetts

Would you like to expose your kids to supplementary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education outside of the classroom? Then you’re in luck because in addition to a wide variety of STEM summer camps, we’re fortunate to have a growing number of quality companies and organizations offering year-round STEM classes in Massachusetts.LEGO Mindstorm NXT

There are quite a few companies providing after-school and weekend classes that teach kids as young as kindergarten about computer programming, engineering, video game design, robotics, animation, 3D modeling, and more.

What has impressed me is that many of these programs were started by parents who were looking for engineering and tech programs for their own kids but had difficulty finding them. They recognized there was a need and created their own companies! That’s exactly what happened according to Ruth Keyes, co-President of jrCode Academy based in Wellesley. I asked her why she started jrCode and she said it was primarily for her kids and friends and then “the word caught on.”

Parents are delighted with the programs. Ruth shared, “Parents love that the kids are learning something not provided in schools but is essential to a well-rounded education today.” She also added that the kids want more classes. Given the high level of interest, Ruth said that most of their resources are focused on curriculum development.

The following list provides an overview of each organization. All of them offer programs during the school year, school vacation weeks, and during the summer. Visit their websites to learn more and get specific details about programs, costs, and dates.

YEAR-ROUND STEM CLASSES

 Organization About Focus Location Age
Acera Acera provides an after-school STEAM learning lab. Variety of STEAM afternoon programs offered in science, creativity, and leadership. Winchester 7-15 years
Code & Circuit Code & Circuit wants to inspire a new generation of computer scientists and careers in engineering and programming. Small-size courses designed to introduce anyone to computer science, coding, and circuitry. Amesbury Grades K-8
Coding with Kids Coding with Kids is a computer programming academy.  The company’s programs advance young coders from the very beginnings all the way to the mastery of computer science and software development. Computer programming Various MA locations and online Grades K-12
Code Wiz Code Wiz is a modern STEM learning center where kids learn to code and develop problem-solving skills. Drag and drop programming classes are offered for younger students and Python, Java, HTML for older students. Robotics, 3D printing and other courses are also offered. Westford Ages 7-16
CS Recitations CS Recitations offers year-round after-school computer science and programming classes. Small in-person classes with expert teachers, intro through AP level, plus competition tracks and MIT edX recitations. Natick Ages 8-18
Curious Kids Lynnfield Curious Kids Lynnfield is an organization of graduate-level educated certified teachers that provides process-focused STEAM/STEM workshops for early childhood enrichment. Hands-on thematic STEAM workshops focusing on the Massachusetts Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences and onsite STEM workshops at local schools focusing on the concepts found in the Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Frameworks for K to grade 2. Lynnfield Preschool through Grade 2
Einstein’s Workshop Einstein’s Workshop is dedicated to inspiring children and adults in their exploration of science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM). Access to innovative tools such as 3D printers and a laser cutter, and classes in robotics; electronics design; Minecraft engineering and architecture; 3D design and programming. Burlington and Newton Grades K-8
Empow Studios Empow Studios brings technology, arts, and play together to help young learners discover and build on their creative talents.

 

Classes in programming, robotics, video game design, animation, design, audio engineering and other creative skills. Lexington and Newton

*Check Empow Studio’s website for additional locations during school vacation weeks and summer camps.

7-13 years
Fungineers Fungineers provides fun-filled access to the building blocks, tools, and mindset for those who have an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Robotics, 3D design, RC aircraft, programming, and game-based learning. Norfolk Ages 6-18
jrCode Academy  jrCode is a Boston area startup that offers after-school computer coding programs to children. The company’s mission is to share the joy of coding with as many kids around the country as possible. Computer programming Wellesley, Brookline and Medfield Grades 2-8
Kids Digital U Kids Digital U offers training in 3D design and animation. Experience animation via Cinema 4D, 3D printing via Makerbot 3D printing and Video Game Design (2D and 3D) via Unity 3D. Needham Grades 3-11
KTByte Computer Academy KTByte is a school dedicated to teaching computer science and technologies to students.

 

Classes range from computer fundamentals to AP and national level competitions prep. Lexington, Acton and online Ages 9-18
Microsoft Stores Microsoft is committed to increasing access to computer science education. YouthSpark programs include coding games and apps and creating digital art. Boston, Burlington and Natick Ages 8+
Parts and Crafts Parts and Crafts is a member-supported family makerspace and community workshop.  Programs encourage kids to play, think, make, and learn through the exploration of the arts, science, computer programming, and engineering. Classes included electronics, textiles, computer programming, woodworking and games. Somerville  7 years+ (if younger, need an adult present)
Penguin Coding School Penguin Coding School was started by a Lexington dad to turn kids onto the joys of coding. The school has developed a unique curriculum that emphasizes the joys of creation as the motivation for learning. Penguin Coding School offers 3 semesters of instruction during the school year (fall, winter, spring). Computer programming classes include Scratch for 2-4th graders, HTML/Javascript websites and game building for 4-8th graders, Python/Java for 8-12th graders; and digital art & 3D printing. Lexington Ages 7-18
STEM Beginnings STEM Beginnings offers fun-filled and exciting programs focused on building and sustaining interest in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The main goal is to introduce STEM-related concepts through effective instruction and enjoyable activities. The organization believes that the creation of a fertile ground for learning starts during a child’s early years. Fun and exciting STEM classes for young children. Through hands-on activities and STEM challenges, children will think, construct, experiment, discover, and develop the desire to learn more. Westborough

Note: Also available in various locations in MA through schools and town recreation departments

Pre-K to Grade 4
The Maker Mill The Maker Mill is a community Makerspace and STEM enrichment center for kids, teens, and adults. The immersive open space encourages creativity through exploration with the latest technology and STEM educational tools. In addition to the open space for exploring, workshops are offered to excite kids to explore the latest technologies. North Andover All ages
Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) The Tufts University Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) is a leader in supporting efforts to integrate engineering into K-12 education.

 

Engineering and robotics workshops for kids are advertised through an email list at sympa@elist.tufts.edu and on their Facebook page. Medford Grades 1-8

Image Source:  Bots For Fun at the Bascom Branch Library by San José Library

5 thoughts on “Parents’ Guide to Year-Round STEM Classes in Massachusetts

    1. Cyndi Post author

      For summer, iD Tech (www.idtech.com) offers computer classes at Eastern Nazarene College. Also, KT Byte (www.ktbyte.com) is a local company (Lexington) and offers live, online coding classes with instructors.

  1. Stephanie

    We live in Taunton, MA. My daughter is really interested in Minecraft so I am looking for a way to turn that into something useful. She’s 7. Thank you.

    1. Cyndi Post author

      As a start, you and your daughter might want to explore Minecraft Hour of Code: https://code.org/minecraft. Additionally, many of the Microsoft Stores offer free Minecraft coding workshops. Also, Empow Studios offers Minecraft camps and they will be holding a summer camp this year in Quincy, MA: https://empow.me/camp/#vacation-camp. Fungineers in Norfolk, MA also offers Minecraft classes: https://www.letsfungineer.com/weekly-projects-program/.

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