This fundraiser is to raise funds to help support a new exhibit at Discovery Station called Discovery Town. Discovery Town will be a makeover of the current Early Childhood Gallery area. This will be a comfortable, enclosed area that invites children ages 5 and under to crawl, climb, and walk to explore and manipulate new environments and surfaces. Children will be able to explore independently in an area separated from older children. This exhibit area will be created to spark exploration and creativity in young children ages 0-5 and their caregivers.
Discovery Town will give our younger visitors a chance to explore, experiment and pretend in a safe place built just for them. It will provide experiences to establish a sturdy foundation for all developmental behavior that follows as well as to enable school readiness. Discovery Town will focus on four learning areas for early childhood development: socio-emotional development, personal health and safety, cognitive development, and motor skills.
Exhibit Areas and Educational Focuses:
Town People -
Along the long wall to the left of the area there will be mirrors spaced a foot apart. In between the mirrors on hooks there will be various costumes depicting different members of the Discovery Town community (ie: Police, Mailmen, Vet, Firemen, Doctor, Waitress, Nurse etc.). Children will be encouraged to try on the costumes and use the mirrors to better identify with the appearance of these members. An area on this wall will have just a regular mirror where children will make different emotional faces in (ie: anger, sadness, happiness, strange faces etc.) This area focuses on socio-emotional development through identity and relationship building.
Discovery Town Park - This area is in the back of the exhibit (currently puppet room and dinosaur dig). This exhibit will have physical displays where children will develop various motor skills. This area includes a climbing displays with other features pertaining to object manipulation. This area will have a heavy focus on motor skills development.
Dentist and Doctor’s Offices - These two areas will be next to one another in the exhibit. In the dentist area, children will learn how to properly brush and floss their teeth with multiple 3-dimensional models. They will be encouraged to role-play as dentists. In the other section, they will learn about doctors and physical health. This area will have babies to play doctor with. This area will focus on personal health.
Veterinary Clinic - This area will be set-up as a vet’s office. There will be common house pets (stuffed animals) that children can pretend are real pets. This area will focus on cognitive development with memory and spatial awareness. They will have to identify various animals as they relate to symbols (dog = stuffed dog).
Fire Department - This area teaches children about safety. They can role-play as firemen while learning about basic safety skills. This area will also focus on personal safety and cognitive development.
Impact: By employing the focuses on the four learning areas for early childhood development within the framework of this exhibit, we will be assisting families with school readiness. One of the primary concerns by educators in the early childhood field is the lack of school readiness of their students.(1) With this supplementary learning resource, children will be better prepared to enter kindergarten and later primary school.This will manifest in better school performance, a greater emotional intelligence and overall well-being for students.