WonderLab Awarded $20,200 from Duke Energy to fund Science Sprouts Place

Scientists of all ages learn through exploration and hands-on experimentation. Children, birth through three, are natural scientists. In order to better meet the needs of these youngest investigators, WonderLab is planning a new exhibit area in the gallery: Science Sprouts Place. This area will be designed, developed, and constructed specifically for visitors birth through age three. Duke Energy, a WonderLab partner since 1998, has pledged $20,200 in grant money to help fund the construction. The total cost of the project is $197,700.

“This grant continues a long partnership between Duke Energy and WonderLab,” said Bruce Calloway, government & community relations manager for Duke Energy.  “WonderLab embodies the Duke Energy Foundation’s focus and commitment to STEM programming and we are pleased to support this exhibit.”

Early last year, Emmy Brockman, the Education Director at WonderLab, created a weekly program series called Science Sprouts, designed especially for toddlers and their caregivers. The research-based program is free with museum admission and includes hands-on exploration, live music, body movement, and a commitment to accurate science.

“The popularity of the Science Sprouts program, along with results from a recent WonderLab exhibit analysis, helped us understand the need for permanent museum experiences focused on our youngest visitors and their caregivers” said Karen Jepson-Innes, WonderLab Executive Director.  “Meeting the needs of children from birth through age three is important because, over the last decade, there has been enormous progress in early childhood research about how young children process information: they are capable of more complex problem solving and sophisticated learning than previously thought. Most brain development occurs in a child’s first five years, so a rich educational foundation is essential for success. With Science Sprouts Place, WonderLab can begin at the beginning with STEM education and skills for life.”

Science Sprouts Place is scheduled to open in 2019 and will include original, hands-on exhibits geared towards infants and toddlers as well as information for caregivers. WonderLab will also continue to develop exhibits and programs for older visitors.