Play, Build, Create.

Fair Celebrates Maker Movement

Courtesy PCS
A creation station from the 2016 Maker Fair.

“Play, build, create” is the theme of Peconic Community School’s third annual Maker Fair, a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness in celebration of the Maker Movement. This year’s fair offers creation stations, demonstrations by local makers, and its first local food truck rally.

At the festival, guests can experience workshops and demonstrations by local woodworkers, robotics teams, artists, chefs, scientists, inventors, puppeteers, and performers. It will take place on Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM at the school in Aquebogue. Tours of the school and classrooms will also be offered.

“We’re particularly excited about this year’s photo booth, drone demonstrations, a hoverboard, a 3D printer and a cardboard arcade conceived and built by PCS students,” said Kathryn Casey Quigley, PCS co-founder and executive director.

The fair serves as a fundraiser for the independent school, but was also launched as a conduit for connecting with the community and to share creativity and project-based learning, two pillars of the school’s curriculum.

“PCS implements a project-based curriculum, so when we learned about maker fairs it seemed like such an obvious fit for our school to host one. The inspiration for the fair is the Maker Movement that has been taking hold in recent years,” Quigley said.

A vision of an alternative educational experience offering collaborative, integrated, and community focused education is what inspired Quigley, her sister Liz Casey Searl, and educator Patricia Eckardt to create PCS.

“We believe education should be student-directed and inquiry based. PCS exemplifies these ideas through an integrated and project -based curriculum,” said Eckardt.

The school’s mission is to foster reflective, resilient, compassionate learners in a safe, caring, trusting environment.

“We used to dream of a creating a school that embraced project-based learning and capitalized on the opportunities provided by this unique place that we live. We believed in a progressive model of teaching and learning, and recognized that there was a lack of alternatives for families on the North Fork,” said Quigley.

That dream came to fruition in 2011 when the women announced at a small gathering of interested parents at the Casey family home that they had decided to move forward with their plan. The transition from idea to reality included community information sessions, visiting northeastern model schools, and consulting with experts in the field.

In 2012, the school’s doors opened with one class of nine students, and today there’s approximately 60 students. Several of these students have grown with PCS through sixth grade and will graduate this June. The three founders credit an “incredible community” with making the journey possible.

“Being a part of this special little school has been a unique privilege. It is an inspirational learning community,” Quigley said. “Children who attend PCS love coming here. What more can you ask for than students who are excited each day to come to school and learn?”

Peconic Community School is located at 269 Main Road, Aquebogue. The event is sponsored by Ultra Motion in Cutchogue, and a $10 donation per family is suggested.