ScienceWorks will turn its attention to preschool exhibit
ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum in Ashland is building an interactive, preschool exhibit that will teach art, health, nutrition and other areas of science to help prepare young minds for elementary education.
"It's important to get kids started early and get them used to coming here to start science in an interesting and fun way," said new Executive Director Mark DiRienzo.
ScienceWorks has been meeting with day-care directors and members of the community, gathering ideas and volunteers in much the same manner it did when it began seven years ago.
As before, the prime mover of the effort will be Ashland author John Javna, a founder of the organization who has published many books, including "Fifty Simple Things You Can Do to Save the Earth."
"He's the creative mind behind it and he's pulling the support of the community behind it, so everyone can become excited about it as it develops," said DiRienzo.
The museum has a small preschool area with play structures, pulleys, tubes, pots and pans and other easy-to-understand interactive toys.
The expanded early childhood area will have lots of colorful lights, textures and sounds to engage toddlers, as well as red and green lights that tell them wrong and right answers to questions in exhibits, DiRienzo noted.
The "cutting edge" exhibit will be built in what is now the Einstein Art Gallery in the central part of the museum. Work will begin in the first quarter of 2009 using grants from the Oregon Community Foundation, Sharkey Family Charitable Foundation and Leightman Maxey Foundation. It should be done about May 1, he said.
Attorney Sharon Javna, a ScienceWorks board member, said the early childhood area will be a "rich, stimulating environment for the young mind."
John Javna is welcoming volunteers to help design, build and paint the exhibit or donate materials — and parents who can "become part" of the display.
Although the early childhood area will serve the preschool set and provide a popular field trip, it is not a day-care center, said DiRienzo. Children must be accompanied by adults.
For more information, call John Javna at 941-8229.
John Darling is a freelance writer living in Ashland. E-mail him at email@example.com.