PaCE Grant

Discovery Center receives $168k grant for pre-K programs

May 2021

Discovery Center at Murfree Spring is the recipient of a three-year $168,000 grant for pre-K programs to encourage play and foster science skills and social-emotional learning. The grant, Building Foundations for Parent and Child Engagement (PaCE), was awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Discovery Center was one of 109 awardees selected from a pool of 345 applications. The PaCE grant will engage children ages 3-5 and their parent/caregiver in strategies that help support young children’s curiosity and prepare them for kindergarten.

“Play is essential to children’s cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being and can foster children’s resilience to hardship,” said Dale McCreedy, PhD, Discovery Center’s vice president of audience & community engagement. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to share our expertise and resources to leverage the power of play with families less familiar with us. We are also eager to learn about ways Discovery Center can better serve our community’s earliest learners and their influential adults.”

Programming for the PaCE grant will include sessions at five local community sites over the next two years, involving at least 10-20 adult participants with their pre-K children, in addition to establishing local advisory boards to help sustain these efforts with Discovery Center’s collaboration. By leveraging the museum’s experience in mobile outreach, extensive pre-K programming, and transportable exhibits, parents and children can engage where they live in play and exploration aligned with children’s developmental ages. These programs – coupled with other long-term efforts by Discovery Center – will benefit from community input to help shape future undertakings.

“This project aligns with Discovery Center’s commitment to offering quality early learning experiences both in the museum through its exhibits and programs as well as in the community, by moving very intentionally outside the museum’s walls and sharing exhibits and programs in new ways and with new audiences where they live and play. In partnership with Read To Succeed and Murfreesboro City Schools Family Resource Center, sites will be identified and experiences provided that will connect books, portable exhibits, and partner expertise. Additionally, Discovery Center is passionate about better understanding the assets, barriers and opportunities of local underserved and under-resourced families in order to better support the learning and development of all early learners.” McCreedy added.

Discovery Center looks forward to sharing program strategies and embedding lessons learned in its ongoing efforts to provide programs that respond to the interests and needs of the community and its earliest learners.