The Exploration Place Museum + Science Centre has been honoured with the award for the Best Program – Small Institution for its Early Explorers Preschool.
The CASCADES award comes from the Canadian Association of Science Centres.
The Early Explorers Preschool, established in 2007, is a licensed preschool program set within the north’s premier museum and science centre. Children enjoy the only STEAM-based preschool curriculum in Prince George (Science Technology Engineering Art Math), balanced with circle time, art, songs, fine and gross motor play, and kindergarten readiness, set in a stimulating learning environment like no other in our area.
“It isn’t every day that an organization is honoured with a national award like this, and it’s even more exciting because its ours, right here in Prince George,” said Tracy Calogheros, CEO of The Exploration Place. “My team is outstanding and Early Explorers Program is truly exceptional – now if we can just find a way to make it safe to start up again in our current circumstances.”
As part of its integrated learning department, children in the Early Explorers participate in a science-based preschool curriculum, benefitting from all the resources, educators and exhibits in our facility, as these staff experts share their vast and varied knowledge. Learning from curators, from Lheidli T’enneh Elders, planting container gardens and processing foods with a master gardener, caring for the Animal Ambassadors with science centre’s head keeper, visits from other local experts and visits to other organizations all combine to create this award-winning program focused on inspiring young minds and hearts.
“What makes Early Explorers so innovative in that we integrate all of The Exploration Place’s resources into our curriculum and into the experiential education children receive,” said Robyn Curtis, Manager – Integrated Learning. “We have a huge advantage by having these children in our building daily throughout the school year, so it only makes sense to use all components of this great Museum to expand beyond a typical preschool curriculum. We have over 430 hours of instruction each year with each one of our preschoolers, time during which we get little minds excited about STEAM learning, planting the seeds for their future.”
The Early Explorers Preschool is the only licensed preschool program of its kind in North America to exist within a museum or science centre. This in and of itself makes Early Explorers extremely unique, and we are honoured and humbled to receive recognition of what we do by being selected for this award by CASC.
“Prince George is a very special community,” said Calogheros. “As our young students graduate from Early Explorers Preschool, they take with them the foundation for both cultural and scientific literacy. These future leaders embark on their journey of life-long learning with the tools at hand to further their development of broad-based critical thinking, a skill that is a key piece of growing well-rounded adults.”