This year Discovery Center was selected to join the Leap into Science program created by the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia (thanks, Dale!). Leap into Science combines open-ended inquiry activities with children’s books to engage children ages 3-10 and their families. For the last three months, we have visited all five of the 4-year old classrooms at the Head Start location on Maney Avenue. In addition to providing a fun learning environment for these students, the lessons were designed as a professional development and training opportunity for their teachers. Katie led a variety of sessions about balance, wind and air, light and shadows, water, sound, magnets, and more. During each session, Head Start teachers were encouraged to observe her teaching methods and the way she introduces, explains, and encourages students through each concept. Each of the Maney Avenue teachers will receive kits to complete these lessons in their classrooms next year and Katie will travel on to another Head Start to get the process rolling again!
This year’s program concluded with a family night at Discovery Center – 83 adults and 53 children attended and we were able to award 30 memberships to these families as part of our Kids First outreach initiative. Despite the fact that Discovery Center and the Maney Avenue Head Start are only one-third of a mile away from each other, this was the first time many of these families were able to visit the museum. Providing family memberships will ensure they are able to explore and grow together for another year! In addition to our exhibits, some of the activities used throughout the program were laid out so the students could teach their parents the concepts they’d learned. Leap Into Science isn’t a new program, but it’s certainly helping to breathe new life into our early childhood outreach opportunities.