Learning through LEGO Welcome to Youghal’s East Cork S.T.E.M. Academy

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Grown-ups, please take note: the East Cork S.T.E.M. Academy is just for kids, writes Becky Grice.

And, for a thirty-something journalist, arriving at their door at Allin’s Quay, Youghal last week, this disclaimer from owner Maurice Healy was a cruel one. Step inside the S.T.E.M. (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) Academy and one is confronted by the LEGO equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory (just with much less sugar).

Every (purpose-built) surface holds LEGO bricks, LEGO wheels, LEGO heads, and those funny little two-stud white LEGO pieces that always, always ended up down the back of the sofa. There’s LEGO robots, LEGO movie sets, a LEGO elephant, a LEGO man bursting through the wall (which also has LEGO studs on it) and LEGO storage boxes. In short, what we’re trying to get across is that there’s a LOT of LEGO – and, because we’re ‘an adult’ we’re not allowed to play with it. We’re resisting the urge to throw a hissy fit.

Youghal native, Maurice Healy, isn’t fazed: he’s seen this reaction before – many, many times.

‘When parents bring their children through the doors, it’s almost as if they forget that they’re here for their kids! LEGO is something that we’ve all grown up with, but its evolution has been incredible. S.T.E.M., which is LEGO’s educational arm, has become part of mainstream educational curriculum in the United States, as it hones a child’s hand-to-eye co-ordination and manual dexterity, teaches them problem-solving, coding and engineering, and provides them with the tools to apply the skills they’ve learned in real-world situations.’

Read the full feature inside the latest issue of Youghal News.