The Burke Museum received a Thrive by Five grant to grow our offsite BurkeMobile programs and reach our littlest learners. We’re working with the small community of Royal City, Washington, to bring programming and resources for Early Childhood Education to parents, teachers, and students in the area.
In early February, we packed our car with as many museum objects and teaching tools as possible to create a three-day learning experience for the community.
The first night we met with parents of the local preschool to help them with tips to practice STEM lessons at home with their children. Parents were pleasantly surprised to be able to interact with objects from our collections while learning everyday opportunities to discuss science with their children.
In one activity, we asked parents to create a boat that would float using a common household item—foil! There were many different versions of boats and some even added a bit of flair. The parents seemed to enjoy themselves while practicing hands-on science.
The next two days we visited both the Royal City Preschool and Inspire Developmental Center to lead dinosaur-themed programs for the preschool-aged students. We had a blast learning about prehistoric animals, digging for fossils, touching dinosaur teeth, and creating a class mural!
On the final evening of our visit, we led activities at a family night in the high school library. This was a great opportunity for parents and children to learn together and for parents to practice the skills they picked up two nights before. The kids eagerly ‘fed’ dinosaurs with beanbags, added adaptations to their dinosaurs, created dinosaur habitats, and examined fossils with their parents. High school volunteers stepped in to help and to translate for native Spanish speakers while the preschool teachers welcomed everyone and kept the evening running. It was a full community effort and a lot of fun!
The BurkeMobile visit to Royal City was a great experience for everyone involved and we’re eager to build upon what we learned for future visits to Royal City and other communities in Washington state.