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.
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
|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|
|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, Boston Children’s Museum, Lexington 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 (primary location)
*Check Empow Studio’s website for additional locations during school vacation weeks and summer camps.
|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)|
|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 email@example.com and on their Facebook page.||Medford||Grades 1-8|
|Zaniac||Zaniac’s forward-thinking approach allows students to grasp math and logic concepts, which are fundamental to skills like computer programming, in a way that feels like play.||Programs include Minecraft, computer programming, LEGO Robotics, Zane Math, chess, and touch typing.||Woburn||Grades K-8|