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April 5, 2017
Partnership to Benefit Young Children

Exciting things are happening at the Danville Science Center — things that will benefit the area's youngest citizens. These happenings are part of the center's strategic plan, which lays out the facility's goals for the next five years.

"Our first priority is to augment the Science Center's programs," said Adam Goebel, executive director of the Danville Science Center. "We also wanted to build intentional partnerships in the community."

To that end, the Danville Science Center has partnered with Danville Community College's (DCC) early childhood education program as it works to create a program designed for young children at the Science Center. The goal of the partnership is twofold — to help the center as it creates the Young Learners Gallery and to give DCC's students hands-on experience coordinating activities for very young children.

"Among our staff, we have a lot of experience with education, but very little with early childhood education," Goebel said. "I've worked with Martha Tucker for a number of years, and one day I was talking to her about some of the ideas we had. She asked if she could bring her students to the Science Center for a visit."

From there, plans and ideas grew. The class has gone to the Science Center a couple of times since their initial visit "to try out the activities in each gallery and to look for ways to make the learning more appropriate for young children," said Martha Tucker, assistant professor of early childhood and reading at DCC.

"I want my students to understand that their efforts and work are valuable to the children of our community, and to learn from working professionals in the field of education," Tucker said.

Goebel added the students are taking their experiences and knowledge of what is currently offered to create kits for early childhood preschool groups and other young visitors. These kits, once completed, will be presented to the center in late April.

Both Tucker and Goebel see the partnership continuing as the Science Center continues to expand its focus on early childhood education over the next three to five years.