Truckee’s KidZone Museum wins national award | SierraSun.com

Truckee’s KidZone Museum wins national award

Special to the Sun
Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.comKidZone Museum accepts InterActivity 2011 award. From left: Rohit Burman, Director, MetLife Foundation; Julia Bland, president for the ACM Board and executive director of Louisiana Childrenand#8217;s Museum and Carol Meagher, executive director, KidZone Museum.
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TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212;-After a national review of exemplary childrenand#8217;s museum efforts conducted by Metlife Foundation and Association of Childrenand#8217;s Museum (ACM), Truckeeand#8217;s KidZone Museum was one of three museums to receive top honors and a $10,000 cash award. Promising Practice Awards were presented May 19 at the InterActivity 2011: Innovation is Childand#8217;s Play conference in Houston, Texas to museums whose programs increase opportunities for children to be part of their community as global citizens.

and#8220;Global citizens require strong literacy, cultural competency and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills. Childrenand#8217;s museums show children, families and schools how to effectively develop these skills through informal learning experiences,and#8221; said Dennis White, MetLife Foundation president and CEO.

To earn a Promising Practice Award a childrenand#8217;s museum must stand out as innovating and redefining traditional museums with highly interactive play. Museums are competitively evaluated among a jury of experts in museum design and programming.

The KidZone Museum received its Promising Practice award for the KidsReach program, which increased visitation to the Museum from low-income children and families by 500 percent in three years.

and#8220;The children of low-income families have limited access to hands-on learning, community engagement and are at risk for depression, failing in school and child abuse. Our KidsReach program was created to address these issues by providing very young children and their families with transportation to the Museum to partake in social and educational programs as a family,and#8221; says Carol Meagher, executive director of KidZone Museum.

and#8220;We wanted to offer a community program where all children of all socio-economic levels can play together. We first hired Spanish speaking staff and arranged weekly transportation to the Museum, which was funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Placer County First 5,and#8221; says Romina Branje, coordinator for KidsReach.

Museum staff witnessed children gaining needed language skills, social skills and critical thinking skills when they conducted longitudinal observations. They continuously built the program by attending meetings in Kings Beach and personally getting to know the families.

KidZone Executive Director Carol Meagher and Outreach Coordinator Romina Branje attended the May 19 awards ceremony in Houston to accept KidZoneand#8217;s first national award. More than 700 people were in attendance.

The KidZone Museumand#8217;s current exhibit, Starfish Enterprise, features an Imagination Playground and#8220;reefand#8221; building, a research submarine, reading nook and sand play. For additional information, visit http://www.kidzonemuseum.org.

The Museum is dedicated to and designed for families with children up to age seven and relies on the generous support of volunteers, members, benefactors along with donations and participation in the annual Tahoe Family Festival in August. Visit http://www.kidzonemuseum.org and click on and#8220;Support Us.and#8221;

For additional information contact Meagher at director@kidzonemuseum.org or 530-320-5613.

and#8212; Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.com