POWER OF PLAY: A CAMPAIGN FOR KIDS
Stop, drop, roll and GIVE!
Calling future first responders…this exhibit is for you! Kids of all ages will love climbing aboard the REAL fire truck as part of a newly designed 900 square foot exhibit at Wonder Universe: A Children’s Museum.
Learn more about Wonder Universe here and join us for a SNEAK PEEK on Wednesday, April 24th from 5-7pm at the NRV Mall!
Wonder Universe, formerly the Children’s Museum of Blacksburg, is excited to expand and relocate to the NRV Mall in Christiansburg. With your support, the firefighter exhibit will come to life when the museum opens its new doors in Summer 2019!
Imagine the fun of dressing up in a heavy firefighter’s jacket, sturdy hat and boots and racing to the rescue! Junior firefighters everywhere will explore the role of these most important community helpers as they use their imagination to create a storyline all their own! Kids will be captivated by the chance to rush to the rescue, steer the full size truck, flip all of the switches and grab the firehoses!
This exhibit will not only inspire their creative side, it will help kids learn some fire safety basics like stop, drop and roll and how to crawl to safety in a fire emergency. Help us provide this unique, hands-on pretend play experience for little ones with your gift today, and support the operation of the museum as we grow to better serve the New River Valley.
WE'RE MORE THAN JUST A PLACE TO PLAY.
It’s a place where a diverse community of learners gather to think creatively, explore novel ideas, and build skills that will serve as the foundation for lifelong learning. Recently a museum member named Taulbee shared this story describing her family’s experience joining our museum:
I left a teaching position of 12 years, moved to Blacksburg (8 months pregnant with my second child) so that my husband could begin his journey as assistant professor at VT. I left my friends and family in Georgia and arrived in my new town eagerly searching for resources. We joined a new mom’s group, enrolled in a preschool, joined a gym. I was struggling with a feeling of isolation and I needed my “village.” It was not until I found the Children’s Museum that I found my way home. The Children’s Museum provides a nurturing environment for children and parents alike. I have built my calendar around the museum’s schedule. For my kids, story time with Joelle, STEM activities, free exploration; and for me, an opportunity to meet, share strategies with and learn from other parents. We love the Children’s Museum!!!
For Taulbee and her children, for families like hers who want to see their children thrive, and for employers aiming to recruit and retain talented employees, Wonder Universe is an important community asset that helps make the NRV a great place to live, work, and PLAY!
ABOUT WONDER UNIVERSE: A CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
Wonder Universe is a dynamic learning environment that redefines the boundaries of traditional museums and play-based learning. We strive to support healthy development from birth to age 10 through thoughtfully designed exhibits that empower guests and engage caregivers in interactive, innovative learning and play.
Currently, children in our area are falling behind educational standards. Over half of fourth graders in Virginia are not reading at grade level, and almost two-thirds of sixth graders are not performing math at grade level.
Ninety percent of a child’s brain structure is built during the first five years of his or her life. Yet recent data suggests that more than 75 percent of three- and four-year-olds in the New River Valley are not enrolled in any early childhood education program. Because more than 6,100 children in the New River Valley live in poverty, many also lack access to educational resources at home. For these children, Wonder Universe is an essential resource for learning and development. We provide a safe, resource-rich play space that inspires collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and citizenship—valuable 21st-century skills.
Research continually demonstrates the importance of playful learning. It also has been proven to reduce stress, enhance brain structure, promote executive function, improve social competence, and enhance working memory and self-regulation. The American Academy of Pediatrics (2018) recently reported, “Newer research has provided additional evidence of the critical importance of play in facilitating parent engagement; promoting safe, stable, and nurturing relationships; encouraging the development of numerous competencies, including executive functioning skills; and improving life course trajectories.”
For children in the New River Valley, where access to intentionally unstructured, purposeful play is limited, especially for families with limited financial resources, Wonder Universe is inclusive and accessible.
The return on investment is clear. Enhancing early childhood education reduces achievement gaps and high school dropout rates. Graduating from high school is a significant achievement, making individuals more employable, more likely to earn more, and statistically less likely to engage in other risky behaviors. But the journey begins before age three in informal learning spaces, like Wonder Universe. An amenity that promotes school readiness and provide families a sense of belonging and connection is a necessary element of vibrant community development.
Most importantly, you’ll be enabling eager learners to reach their full potential as they experience the power of play each year.