First Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Boot Camp a Resounding Success!

Gretchen Lee

Aligning with the Saddle River Day School’s mission to encourage students to be intellectual risk takers and caring & ethical contributors to society, SRDS has established a Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) under the direction of Science Department Chair, Anastasia Kelly. The CIE works to enhance our academic environment with meaningful projects and programs that encourage students to examine issues in the community and the world, and to see these issues as opportunities for innovation, design and entrepreneurship. It allows for more project based, student centered learning and cross-divisional collaboration in the classroom and enhances popular applied learning courses and programs already in place such as Engineering and Design, Graphic Design, Entrepreneurship, Robotics, Digital Citizenship and Fluency, with the goal of creating new programs and curriculum that help prepare students to succeed and thrive in life.

The first CIE Boot Camp was an amazingly successful event with 50+ attendees in grades K-8. The younger boot camp participants (grades K-4) attended the Introduction to Entrepreneurship sessionThey discussed the stress of the holiday season and how everyone could benefit from stress release at this time of the year. They divided up into three stations to create "stress release" toys and gadgets including Gingerbread Glitter Slime, Orbeez Stress balls, and Fidget Spinners. As a group, they discussed how to do market research to determine if one or more of these products were marketable and how to market them. The students had so much fun with these hands-on projects and came up with some very creative and original marketing slogans.

Our older boot camp attendees (grades 5-8) were introduced to the world of engineering and game design during the Build Your Own Arcade Game session where they designed and made their own cardboard arcade games. Based on simple engineering concepts, they designed and built toys that provided fun for all the CIE boot camp participants. During the last 30 minutes of the morning, everyone enjoyed a cardboard carnival. The older students 'ran' the games and the younger students enjoyed playing them, winning tickets and prizes.

"I saw proud kids, excited parents, partnerships across grades, kids helping kids, kids excited about their independence and open ended activities, and projects oozing with creativity, physics, art and tech," commented Laura Hollis, Director of Technology. Students were overheard asking parents if they could come to school every Saturday! 

Stay tuned for further details on the next CIE Boot Camp event coming in January.