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Mayor Richard M. Daley and officials of the PNC Foundation today announced a $3 million grant to four of the city’s major museums through the Foundation’s “Grow Up Great” program that will enhance science education for about 1,000 students in 28 preschool programs operated by Chicago Public Schools or the Big Shoulders Fund.
“The process of producing well-educated graduates begins long before the first day any child enters a school building. Learning begins at birth,” Daley said in a news conference held at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
“It’s impossible to overstate the importance of high-quality early childhood education in setting our children on a path that leads toward personal achievement, and away from violence, gangs and drugs,” he said.
The Mayor said nothing is more important to the economic future of Chicago than producing the well-educated workforce necessary to compete in the global economy and bring well-paid jobs to the city.
The “Grow Up Great” grant will be made to the Field Museum, the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry, which will use the money to establish new programs in science to serve the pre-schoolers at the participating schools.
In addition, the program will:
· Leverage the experience of the museums to provide professional development for preschool teachers to establish a competency and comfort in teaching the sciences to preschool children
· Enable experts from the partner institutions to visit classrooms to help teachers create activities for the children to explore science using their senses and simple tools
· Engage parents in their children’s learning experience through participation in classroom activities and a series of family visits to the partner institutions
Daley thanked PNC, which has already has made more than $28 million in grants
nationwide through “Grow Up Great”, for their commitment to Chicago and its
He said the new program does two important things:
- It provides pre-schoolers with the building blocks needed to achieve success in later grades, and
- It introduces them to science and shows them that science is fun, exciting and creative; that it rewards teamwork; and that it helps us understand the world around us.
“All children can learn. But some of them start school well behind, and they have trouble catching up with the children who have been nurtured since birth – either at home or in high-quality child care,” the Mayor said.
“We owe our children the best possible start in life. Programs such as this one help assure we are doing just that,” he said.
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