In the STEM space, Strategic Kids is a beacon for programs that emphasize a child's development. Founded by Blake Hepburn and Adam Brody, this organization has made its mission to instill life skills in every child they teach and dismantle the stigma that learning can’t be fun.
"Kids don't want to go to school these days. They don't want to learn,” says Brody. “So how do we remove that stigma of education that learning can't be fun?"
The answer lies in Strategic Kids' diverse range of programs, including LEGO Engineering and Architecture, Chess, and Origami. Brody believes that these programs bring learning to life.
Discussing the challenges faced by schools in the STEM space, Brody identifies two critical issues. Firstly, he notes that many children lack enthusiasm, particularly in lower-income schools. Secondly, there's a staffing crisis in schools.
Brody sees Strategic Kids as part of the solution. "We’re able to help schools with staffing issues find high-quality adults who fit within our mission statement and want to have that positive impact on kids,” he says.
On a practical level, Strategic Kids seeks to add value to schools and parents.
"For schools, we're really just trying to come in and add to their offerings of programs to their students and try to fill in any educational gap that we can,” says Hepburn, “but for parents, that convenience of giving kids a really neat afterschool enrichment experience, allowing them to have their kids be engaged but also giving them time to pick up their kids later in the day."
"Not having to drive, too!” Brody adds humorously, “You know, so many parents are like taxi drivers now.”
Strategic Kids employs a multifaceted approach, highlighting the importance of integrating storytelling into their curriculum. The organization's impact extends to individual students, particularly those with ADHD and moderate autism. Chess, in particular, has proven to be a medium through which these children thrive, showcasing the effectiveness of Strategic Kids' approach in catering to every child’s needs.
“What’s really cool with our story-based curriculum is that we touch upon the different learning styles. Whether that’s touch, kinetic learning, visual/auditory, we really try to tailor our lessons to reach each of those diverse learning styles,” says Hepburn.
In some of their programs, a child who’s never won a trophy before because they haven’t found an activity that they’re particularly good at is given that opportunity or can even learn from their losses and win in the future.
“Sportsmanship, character, learning to develop a strategy, slowing down before making a decision… everything we teach is with those life strategies in mind,” says Brody.
"At Strategic Kids, we don't necessarily teach AI, but we teach skills that are going to be beneficial in that future capacity," says Hepburn, underlining the organization's forward-thinking approach to preparing children for the evolving landscape of technology. The tangible and interactive nature of LEGO, for example, aids in teaching engineering skills, teamwork, and even public speaking as children present their creations.
Looking forward, Strategic Kids is eager to grow and impact nationwide. Brody expresses enthusiasm about adapting to changes, including the influence of AI, to serve children wherever they are and whatever challenges they face. Hepburn emphasizes the organization's commitment to long-term impact, aiming to engage parents and schools in a sustained manner.
In essence, Strategic Kids is not just a STEM vendor. It is a transformative force in education. By making learning fun, engaging, and impactful, Hepburn and Brody are shaping a future where every child is excited to learn and equipped with essential life skills.
Strategic Kids is weaving a story of positive change in communities across the nation, “One STEM lesson at a time,” says Hepburn.
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible! Or want to see if our programs are available at your school? Click this link and type in your school's name to see if we're there!