Ryan J. Degan
The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has resulted in unprecedented times that are challenging traditional ways of teaching, and taking the challenge head on is the Valley Children’s Museum (VCM), which launched a series of innovative online learning opportunities geared toward keeping children engaged with education.
While the museum’s physical location in Dublin has closed for the duration of the shelter-in-place order, volunteers have created an online series of “STEAM Clips” for younger students to watch, as well as a number of home projects for kids to take control of their at-home learning.
“As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention,” VCM volunteers said in a statement. “In producing ‘STEAM Clips,’ the VCM’s Teen Leadership Council members are developing their own skills, discovering new confidence and expanding their leadership skills while providing playful learning videos for young children.”
Launched by the museum’s Teen Leadership Council, STEAM Clips features videos teaching kids lessons based on science, technology, engineering, art and math, in a fun and engaging way — keeping children engaged while stuck at home during the county’s shelter-in-place order.
VCM officials say not only do the videos provide local kids the opportunity to learn in a fun and accessible way, but they also provide each member on the museum’s Teen Leadership Council the opportunity to develop their own skills, discovering new confidence and expanding their leadership talents.
Each member of the leadership team puts in a significant amount of research in prior to creating their video, asking why their video is important and thoughtfully considering how to best apply that lesson to a younger audience — all while maintaining proper social distancing guidelines.
“Valley Children’s Museum’s Teen Leadership Council shows the resilience, leadership and solution seeking that we want to see modeled for our youth today. We are so excited for what they come up with next,” VCM officials said in a statement.
Online programming continues at VCM in the form of a Weekly STEAM challenges series that encourages students and their parents to participate in some self-led and open-ended projects.
In honor of Earth Day, last week’s video series jumped off of the theme “You are Earth’s Super Hero” and tasks participants with various activities such as going around their homes and making a list of ways to reduce waste, finding a creative way to recycle an item and creating a national holiday that would be geared toward making the world a better place.
Most activities can be completed with common household items, but VCM officials offer a running list of suggested items to help participants complete specific tasks.
“We understand that parents are juggling a lot at home at this time,” VCM officials said. “Use whatever materials you have around the house to complete each challenge and be sure to check back each week — you don’t want your children missing out on the fun and learning. For added fun, be sure to post your favorite photos of your children’s creativity on our Facebook and Instagram accounts.”
New events are updated every week and can be found online at www.valleychildrensmuseum.org.