Two new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) learning labs were unveiled today at elementary schools in Broward and Palm Beach counties with the help of Palm Beach State’s Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education.
The first lab opened at Village Academy Elementary School in Delray Beach and the second at the Lauderdale Manors Early Learning Center in Fort Lauderdale.
The labs were created with a two-year $420,000 grant from The PNC Foundation’s Grow Up Great Initiative. Through the initiative, PBSC’s Institute of Excellence partnered with PNC, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium, The Young At Art Museum and the Broward and Palm Beach County school districts to bring more STEAM education to preschools.
The spaces will serve as museums within the schools, where children can develop curiosity and interest in STEAM fields.
“This event exemplifies that there is nothing more powerful than people coming together and collaborating for the common good,” said David Rutherford, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Palm Beach State, at the Village Academy opening. “Under the incredible leadership of President Ava Parker, J.D., the College is absolutely committed to making a difference in our community. Therefore, we are so grateful to PNC and all of our other partners for facilitating our ability to impact the community in such a positive way.”
During the Village Academy event, Grace Kolbe, director of PBSC’s Institute of Excellence in Early Care and Education, read her book, “A Turtle’s Tale” to 15 preschool children before they walked over to the new lab where they were greeted by Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster.
Materials for both labs were selected by Kat Lai, instructional designer for PBSC’s Institute of Excellence, and Palm Beach and Broward County teachers. Many materials were ordered through Donor’s Choose, a nonprofit organization that crowdsources funding for classroom materials and projects at the request of public school teachers across the nation.
The two-year grant also included funds for field trips and Family Fun Days for Palm Beach and Broward county preschool teachers at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium and The Young At Art Museum, 48 hours of professional development for 40 Palm Beach and Broward County preschool teachers, STEAM fairs at schools in both counties, the creation of STEAM case kits for classroom use, and a new STEAM website for PBSC’s Institute of Excellence.
PNC recognizes that learning in children’s early years is essential for their long-term success. Through Grow Up Great, a $350 million, multi-year, bilingual initiative that began in 2004, PNC helps prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. With a focus on underserved children, Grow Up Great provides the leadership, advocacy, funding, volunteers and educational resources to help families, educators and community partners provide innovative opportunities that enhance children’s learning and development. To date, the program has served more than 4 million children.