Great Lakes Science Center creates Learning Lab to provide educational childcare amid COVID-19 pandemic

Great Lakes Science Center creates Learning Lab to provide educational childcare amid COVID-19 pandemic
Great Lakes Science Center (Source: Great Lakes Science Center)

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Great Lakes Science Center invented a new program amid the pandemic to help working parents who need daytime childcare for their children in grades K-8 and as some school districts move to full or part-time online learning.

The Learning Lab program provides a safe and supportive environment for children to do their schoolwork virtually, do “non-screen” STEM-related activities, and meet new friends so they can continue to experience the emotional and social growth that comes with each new school year.

“The Learning Lab will be much closer to a typical day in the classroom,” Vollmer said. “We will provide children with the supports of a school day -- an educator to facilitate the work provided by their school, workspace, Internet access, a lunch break, and supervised outdoor recess.”

The STEM Learning team will lead the children to create a more social and structured environment that what childcare centers generally provide.

“Learning Lab is school-day support for families, like a bridge between the classroom and home,” said Vice President of STEM Learning Scott Vollmer. “Parents are facing significant challenges as they manage new schedules and expectations for their children’s education. With the Learning Lab, we’re looking to ease that worry by offering a safe, supportive alternative.”

GLSC said many of their program health and safety procedures for the pandemic were developed for Camp Curiosity, which served more than 1,000 children this summer.

The Learning Lab will require a daily wellness check and masks for children and staff, as well as have small class sizes with ample spacing between work stations to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Registration opens July 29.

The Learning Lab will be available Monday-Friday from Aug. 24-Dec. 22.

Children can be dropped off from 7:30-9 a.m. and picked up from 2:30-3:30 p.m.

The program costs $59 per day, but GLSC members will receive a 10% discount.

For an additional $15 per day, children can stay from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Lunch can also be purchased for the students for $7.50 per day, but students may also pack a lunch.

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