WonderLab is excited to announce STEM Starters, Exhibits for Preschool-Age Children  generously funded through a $7,500 grant from the Smithville Charitable Foundation.

STEM Starters are exhibits specifically designed for the 4-5-year-old age group that are embedded next to larger exhibits. Creating side-along exhibits with content that is compatible to current, more advanced exhibits adds another layer of learning to both experiences. The 4 and 5-year-olds will also have the advantage of observing how older children and other visitors use the more complex exhibits which they can use as they feel ready. Older children may enjoy “teaching” the younger children, which is a learning for both age groups.

“We discussed the idea of STEM Starts nearly two years ago as an innovative way to engage older preschool children,” said WonderLab Education Director, Emmy Brockman. “Children ages 4-5 are in a really exciting period of development – their advancing motor skills allow them to physically explore in new ways, their language abilities open up new avenues of inquiry, and their social development helps support collaborative learning with their peers and caregivers.”

STEM Starter Exhibits are part of WonderLab’s commitment to early hands on science education which also includes programs such as Science Sprouts a weekly program for children birth through age three and their caregivers as well as the weekly Discovery Time program for children ages 3 to 6 years. Also, in the works is a dedicated exhibits area for the birth to age three age group, Science Sprouts Place, due to open late 2019.

“It’s an exciting time here at WonderLab,” continued Brockman. “Our aim is to engage learners of all ages, and with these new STEM starter exhibits we are able to build something that is developmentally appropriate for preschool aged children, but also embraces the idea that the play-inspired hands-on learning can be engaging and fun for learners of all ages! My goal is to see whole families exploring these exhibits together, and each getting something different out of the experience.”

Look for the first STEM Starters to arrive in the WonderLab main gallery during summer 2018.