Boston Children’s Museum Delivers Innovative Early Learning Tools and Programs to Massachusetts Libraries and Museums

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Federal Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant Strengthens Informal Learning Environments Stressing Literacy and Science

Photo credit: Paul Specht

Boston Children’s Museum has been very involved in school readiness and early learning for over 20 years, both in the Museum and out in the community.

In Partnership with the Massachusetts Department of early Education and Care, Boston Children’s Museum has been strengthening the capacity of Massachusetts libraries and museums to deliver school readiness programming to children and families at the local level. This work, funded as part of the federal Race to the Top program, is part of a statewide strategy to utilize the Commonwealth’s system of libraries and museums as resources to support early literacy and science learning for young children, and to close the achievement gap of high needs children.

To date, Boston Children’s Museum has delivered training on 250 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) kits, and 150 pop-up kindergarten kits to museums and libraries. 52 museums and 119 libraries are active in the project. Informal early education and care environments are key components of the system of child development. Museums and libraries are valuable resources for supporting families in their role as children’s first teacher, providing caregivers with materials and information, and engaging the community in providing enriching experiences for children that support their brain development and lay the foundation for their future success.

“Boston Children’s Museum has been very involved in school readiness and early learning for over 20 years, both in the Museum and out in the community,” said Jeri Robinson, Vice President, Education & Family Learning. “It is a joy to work collaboratively statewide with other museums and libraries who work so hard every day to bring early learning concepts into play in their own institutions.”

“Boston Public Library’s youth services department is honored to collaborate; Race to the Top’s goals align with the library’s commitment to early literacy and learning experiences, making our participation a natural fit,” said Amanda Bressler, Youth Outreach Librarian. “We have already had great success with Storywalks around the city as a direct result of the training and materials the grant has provided. In the coming year Passport to Kindergarten will create added excitement for young children and their families around the many STEM and literacy programs our libraries offer.”

Boston Children’s Museum focused on four areas in supporting family and community engagement in child development: early literacy, school readiness including preparation for Kindergarten, interest and awareness of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and public awareness of the importance of early education and care through the state’s Brain Building in Progress communications initiative.

Museums participating range from 101 year old Boston Children’s Museum to the brand-new Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River. Historical museums range from Historic New England that represents 36 historic properties to the Beverly Historical Society with three houses. Science museums including the Museum of Science in Boston are participating, as is Zoo New England and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The Museum of Fine Art in Boston, as well as Springfield Museum, Cape Ann Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art are also participants.

Additional information on Boston Children’s Museum’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Grant may be found at http://www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/learning-resources/race-to-the-top

About Boston Children’s Museum
Boston Children’s Museum engages children and families in joyful discovery experiences that instill an appreciation of our world, develop foundational skills, and spark a lifelong love of learning. More information about Boston Children’s Museum can be found at http://www.BostonChildrensMuseum.org. Become a fan of the Museum on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BostonChildrensMuseum and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BosChildMuseum

Hours and Admission
The Museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Fridays until 9:00 p.m. Adults, $14, children (1-15) and senior citizens, $14; children under 12 months and Museum members are always free. Fridays 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., all visitors $1.

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Jo-Anne Baxter
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