A fun way to develop STEAM skills
By Sue Baldani
When it comes to education, kids learn best when it’s a more natural process. Add interesting and fun to the mix, and you’ll get Snapology. Named the #1 Children’s Enrichment franchise in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500, its curriculum is full of STEM/STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) learning opportunities.
“After I had my son Darren, I watched him explore his surroundings, and when he was about 2 years old, he got hooked on LEGO®,” says Sunny Sun, the owner of Snapology Summit. “I realized that LEGOdoesn’t force kids to build anything, but instead they can build based on their own imagination and observation. I felt like it really boosted children’s creativity. That was the first connection I had with LEGO.”
While working full time in finance, she decided to find something that would give her a better work/family balance. “When I discovered Snapology and saw the whole educational approach and the curriculum and structure of the classes, it was exactly what I was looking for. It connects creativity and learning and provides all the tools for children to design, create and build based on their own thoughts. And this program uses mostly LEGOto teach. I was sold!”
In addition to LEGObricks, Snapology makes learning fun by using Duplo, K-Nex and innovative technologies such as robotics. And the instructors are all experienced STEM/STEAM teachers. “I looked first for people who had a loving heart for children,” says Sunny. “This was the most important element for me. I didn’t want them to treat this as just a job.” Sunny is an instructor as well.
Everyone involved with Snapology, she adds, is very passionate, from those who research and develop the curriculum to her fellow owners. “We all care about education and children. Our mission is to make children happy and to develop the habit and love of life-long learning.”
Snapology, stresses Sunny, is not just LEGObuilding; it goes beyond that. “We use the LEGObricks and other innovative toys as tools for the kids to boost their imagination and creativity. We also help them with the concept of teamwork and social development so that they will eventually become great people.”
Another wonderful aspect of Snapology is that the classes, parties, play dates and workshops are mobile. Sunny partners with local venues such as schools, libraries, and community centers; classes can even be held at children’s homes. Snapology Summit offers classes not only in Summit but in the surrounding areas as well.
Classes and workshops are flexible in terms of length and are customizable. While its summer camps are usually three hours long, birthday parties can be 1 to 1 ½ hours and workshops 2 hours. Snapology also offers half-day field trips right on school grounds. They will arrange fun activities and indoor and outdoor games for an entire class.
Many parents, she says, are surprised at what their kids can do in these classes. “I recently hosted a Video Design class for 6- and 7-year-olds and there was a girl with special needs in the class. I customized it for each individual’s pace, and by the end of the course, she and the rest of the group were able to make the same game. Her parents were happy and amazed.”
Snapology has a well-established curriculum with over 1,500 hours of instruction. Some of the more popular classes include the Amusement Park Engineering course, where kids learn the mechanisms, or physics, behind the rides. Another is Escape Snapology, where they have to solve math and other problems in order to unlock themselves from one room and get to the next.
“We just established a new program called Drone Commander, which is a drone made out of LEGO. We add a little engine and wings so it can fly with a remote control and do different tricks.”
Sunny also believes in giving back to the community. Through Snapology, she raises money and/or offers free classes for nonprofits such as Room to Read and Crossroads4Hope.
Darren, now 5, loves Snapology. To get your children involved in these amazing courses as well, go to www.snapology.com/location/summit.
Written for Chatham & Short Hills Lifestyle magazine in New Jersey.