■ What is Robofun® all about?

Robofun provides children and teachers a place to learn about coding, engineering and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) in a way that is child driven and project based.

■ What can you expect when you send your child to a Robofun® program?

A warm nurturing environment where your child is known personally by his teacher and treated caringly and respectfully. A family-like environment where the happiness of each child is of utmost importance to us. A place where children have fun, learn new things and make new friends.

■ What makes Robofun® special?

Robofun was started and is led by Laura Hart and we are currently Robofun was started and is led by Laura Hart and we are currently celebrating our 21th year anniversary! Laura has a Master’s Degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Painting and Sculpture from Skidmore College. Prior to starting Robofun, Laura spent 16 years leading computer programs at independent schools in NYC: 14 years at the Buckley School’s and two years at the Little Red School House and Elisabeth Irwin High Schools She firmly believes that we learn best by being makers; when we make things we are passionate about we learn more deeply and the skills we learn are often transferable to other areas of learning. Kids are very passionate about coding, building, and designing. Robofun provides a place to do this.

■ What goes on during your classes?

Classes consist of a number of parts that usually include (but are not limited to):
Instruction in coding, building, or designing
Presentation of a problem or a challenge to solve
Time to code, build and design either in groups of two or individually
Individual attention from our teachers
Circle time where everyone shares his/her work

■ How do you decide what class is appropriate for my child?

Our classes are generally grouped by age, however we make exceptions when appropriate. We expect that there will be children with little or no experience working side by side with a child who may have come to robofun® many times. We believe that everyone does not have to be learning the same thing at the same time and that a variety of approaches and expertise make a rich learning environment where everyone is learning.

Our teachers are trained to work with each child individually and to develop expectations for each child based upon their prior knowledge, their goals and motivation.

■ What is the background of your teachers?

Most of our teachers are in the process of getting their Master’s Degrees in a variety of fields: Education, Interactive Telecommunications, Engineering, Mathmatics, Art, to name a few. Our teachers are artists, writers, musicians, and educators. We hire individuals who like children and want to work with them and then we put them through a rigorous training process.

■ What goes on during summer camp?

We have 12 weeks of summer camp and each week has a different theme and different activities. Each week generally includes:
A morning circle when we all arrive. Everyone in camp, staff, students, assistants, meet as a group (between 35 and 50 people!). We discuss our day, if we have a special speaker, what each group of students will be working on, and then we divide into our four classrooms.
Morning classes: building, engineering and robotics.
Afternoon classes: coding, game designing, and animating.
A visiting speaker who talks about working in the field of tech.
An end of the week celebration where parents and friends come and see the work created.
A “museum walk” where each classroom visits another to see the work other children have done.
A morning and an afternoon snack and games time. Computers are turned off and kids play board games, and we read stories.
An hour for lunch includes about 40 minutes in a playground 2 blocks from robofun supervised by our staff.

■ Can you provide a class or lesson at our home?

Yes we can! Please email Noah Diamond noah@robofun.org for more information.

■ Can my child take their project home?

Within 2 hours after camp is over on Friday, your child’s coding project will be emailed to you. However, the LEGO® materials they are using do not go home. This material costs between $200 and $400. They can take home (and always do) their enthusiasm and excitement for their Robofun experience. We will send you pictures throughout the week of your child and the work they are creating.

■ Can I sign up over the phone?

Yes you can. We are always happy to help you with this (212 245-0444) or you can sign up on the website.

■ Can I set up a class for my child & friends?

Yes! Call (212 245-0444) or email Noah Diamond noah@robofun.org1 to set up the details. We run many private classes set up by parents for Independent and public school vacation days.

■ Do we teach coding?

Yes! For over 20 years, Robofun has been working with schools, CBOs and museums to teach foundational skills in coding and computer programming through the variety of technologies that have emerged over the years. Our founder, Laura Allen, has been teaching coding for over 25 years, and previously worked with Dr. Mitchel Resnick, the creator of Scratch.

■ Why do we teach coding?

We believe that individuals learn in unique and complex ways. Coding at RoboFun allows students to think creatively and apply concepts while they make projects that are personally meaningful to them. Coding also allows children to conduct their own research and experiments in pursuit of knowledge. It exposes them to fun and scientific learning, as well as helps them to become makers and designers who love to learn. Students in our workshops come away with a greater sense of accomplishment because they have learned how to problem solve and grasp large concepts. We believe that these skills can be transferred to other subjects and disciplines.

■ What software do we use to teach coding?

RoboFun utilizes Scratch Video Game Design and Animation software created by Dr. Mitchel Resnick’s team at the MIT Media Lab. We also teach coding with LEGO® EV3 MindStorms software and LEGO® WeDo software.

■ Will RoboFun help your child to excel academically?

RoboFun does not provide test prep. We provide an opportunity for children to learn concepts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics with masterful teachers and thoughtfully scaffolded curricula. Your child will be actively engaged in making and designing a personally meaningful project that applies concepts in coding, robotics, and engineering. By engaging in problem-based learning, your student will be devising his or her own solutions to problems in both coding and design. It is these opportunities to create deeper meanings out of scientific learning that will further motivate and engage children in their future studies of any subject.

■ Does my child have to have experience with Lego or robots or programming?

Your child does not have to have prior experiences with Lego, robots or programming. We work with every child at his or her own level of familiarity and experience. Each class is tailored to the needs and experience of each child.

■ My child is in 2nd grade but is also the youngest in his class - will he have problems catching up?

As our classes are very individually structured, your child will be working at his or her own level. Our classes are taught in a warm nurturing way to support each learner in the way that is best for him or her.

■ Do you provide an assessment to determine which class is best for my child based on his abilities?

On the first day your child comes to Robofun, we place them in a class based upon their age. If this does not seem appropriate and we feel your child could thrive in a different group, we will talk to you and suggest moving them to the class that best meets his or her needs.

Sometimes we get requests to have siblings or friends be in the same class, whenever possible we are amenable to this and accommodate.

■ Does my child get a certificate at the end?

Every child who attends a full week of vacation classes, or summer camp, or an afterschool semester receive a certificate of attendance celebrating his or her achievements.

■ Do you offer 1 on 1 training?

Yes we do. If you would like information on private lessons, please contact our Program Manager Noah Diamond at noah@robofun.org or call him at 212 245-0444 ext. 107

■ How many kids are in a class?

Our average class is 8 children. Our largest classes have 12 – 14 kids. However, our classes often have an assistant teacher so that every child receives a great amount of individual attention. We pride ourselves on making sure that our teachers know each child individually and support their learning.

■Is this like daycare?

We take great care of the children that attend Robofun but we are much much more than daycare. The day has a specific structure that includes a morning meeting, a structured time building or coding a project, group discussions and sessions learning new things, and times to share. Every child makes things, learns new ideas and has a wonderful time doing it. Our children work hard at learning and having fun!

■Can my child take his/her creations home?

In some classes, your child may take home what they’ve made. In our coding classes, the software used is free and we send a link within 24 hours so that your child may continue working on the game created. In our Minecraft Circuitry classes your child will make small circuitry projects and bring them home. In our LEGO Robotics classes, each child is working with about $400.00 of equipment (motors, sensors, a micro computer) and these do not go home.

■ My child has behavioral issues. Is your staff trained in this?

We are eager to make our program as inclusive as we can. In order to do this, we need your help. Please call or stop by and tell us what your child’s needs are and we can tell you if our staff have the skills to support your child.

■It’s my child’s first time. What do I need to know?

Be ready for your child to have a great time! He or she will be challenged and taught in a gentle supportive way. One child told us he’d rather come here than go to Disney World! You are welcome to stay as long as is needed to make sure you and your child are comfortable.

■ My child has special needs (e.g., autism). Is this suitable for him/her?

Please call or stop by and we can discuss if we have the capacity to support your child. We work hard to make our programs work well for everything

■ Is it possible to see what my child is doing in class?

Yes! You are welcome to stay as long or as short as needed for your child to acclimate. At the end of class, you may go into the classroom and see the projects created.

You’re welcome to stop by and check in on him or her and call us during the class if you are concerned our On-Site Program Manager Noah Diamond, will step in, check on them and call you with updates.