Early inspiration fuels mastery of key engineering concepts
  • Fitzgerald and Asst. Amy Belanger at the new diaper changing table
    Fitzgerald and Asst. Amy Belanger at the new diaper changing table
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Edgerton Center is now accepting infants at three months of age – born on or after January 1, 2015 – into their three-hour long engineering workshops offered during the academic year.

“If we can teach children the basic concepts of engineering in the early stages of life, I think we’ll have done our job well,” says Edgerton Center Director, Prof. J. Kim Vandiver.

The notion of opening the Center to serve infants is the brainchild of Edgerton Center Instructor, Amy Fitzgerald, who has led the 11 unique activities – from quizboards to motorized LEGO® cars – since she began at the Edgerton Center in 2001.

“Why restrict STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning to middle school students when you can inspire babies early on in their lives,” remarked Fitzgerald.

When questioned whether a three-month old has sufficient motor skills to solder electrical circuits, or even sit upright, Fitzgerald counters that the earlier that infants are exposed to the rigors and challenges of engineering, the better prepared they will be for a rapidly changing world.

A skilled manager of classroom dynamics, Fitzgerald added “it’s our expectation that parents will not micromanage their infants’ activities and let them ‘learn by going.’” Fitzgerald also noted that logistics had been thought through carefully and that a diaper changing station had been set up next to the soldering table.

For parents, the notion of bringing their infant to the Edgerton Center has sparked a wave of positive reactions. Since the announcement the Center has been inundated with requests from parents.

Paula Pound, mother of three-month old Cynthia, who, at the age of eight weeks built her own LEGO Mindstorms Raptor, is especially excited about their upcoming Flashlight Building workshop. “I’ve often grumbled about the lack of opportunities for highly gifted babies like Cynthia," said Pound.

Katy Muhlrad ’18, a student teaching assistant in the workshops, is particularly thrilled to play a role in shaping the minds of the future. “My only concern is that drool may interfere with soldering but I’m sure we can work that out,” Muhlrad remarked.

Today is April Fools' Day. The story above is purely fictional.