by Joseph P. Cox President & CEO | Museum of Discovery and Science
Today, more than ever before, the importance of culture and creativity for our community of learners is clear. Students are greatly missing real-world, hands-on learning field trips and immersions. Learners traded the playground slide for the “COVID slide” - learning loss in educational and developmental achievement that can equal an entire year of educational absence.
But all is not lost! You are invited to welcome back the wonder and “wow” of discovery with a visit to a local cultural institution! STEM (Science. Technology. Engineering. Math.),art, nature and authentic discovery at local museums, environmental centers and nature parks can reignite informal learning to help students and teachers climb back up the slide(and keep climbing) !Cultural organizations are open and ready to safely welcome families back to science, creativity and exploration. Regular exposure to cultural content contributes to mental health, continuing educational development and well-being of communities.
To gauge the long-term impact of the “COVID slide,” let’s examine learning loss and what we as a community can do to help students get on track. Summer learning loss, for example, can take weeks to address, longer for students from lower-income areas. It will take more than a standard school year to reverse the “COVID slide.” Losses are likely to be more pronounced in the early grades, when students normally acquire many basic skills, and among those already facing steep inequities. While schools and parents have worked diligently to adapt, the entire community must rally to create learning ecosystems, allowing for learning to truly happen everywhere.
Research suggests that as students return to their classrooms, teachers need the support of the entire community, scaffolding education in the classroom with quality after-school and summer programming, informal learning and continued support from parents and caregivers by visiting museums, libraries or participating in art or music classes.
Effective summer and after-school programs are a rich mixture of rigorous academic curriculum bolstered by enrichment activities that excite and stimulate students to re-engage with learning. As communities look to address educational inequity, providing access to rich experiences for all children is critical.
Remote education has given many parents a front-row seat to the learning losses that have resulted since the pandemic upended traditional school. A nonprofit research provider, NWEA, has estimated that students on average began this year four to six months behind academically, with the biggest lags in math. The consulting firm McKinsey & Company projects that students in the U.S. are likely to experience up to nine months of learning loss as a result of the pandemic, and students of color could be as many as 12 months behind. An analysis of South Florida schools showed the percentage of students receiving failing grades had more than doubled.
YOU can help overcome the statistics by encouraging positive learning behaviors and experiences both inside and outside the home. Cultural institutions are here for you with open doors! Whether visiting in-person or taking advantage of at-home activities, cultural institutions are here to offer fun, educational and sometimes delightfully messy learning experiences. Come join us to inspire imaginations and reignite a passion for learning in learners of all ages!
ABOUT MUSEUM OF DISCOVERY AND SCIENCE (MODS):
Founded in 1976 as the Discovery Center, today MODS is at the forefront of science education, innovation and exploration. In addition to daily hours, MODS is currently offering virtual and offsite programming, which allows us to continue connecting people around the globe to inspiring science - whether at home or in virtual classrooms. The Museum showcases more than 300 interactive exhibits, immersive films, experiential programs and an aviation-themed Makerspace. MODS currently offers virtual and offsite programs including boredom-busting experiences for children, families and adults - whether at home or in virtual classrooms. Families can enjoy super science shows and demonstrations, wild Creature Feature animal encounters, awesome avatar tours and private experiences, mind-blowing Makerspace labs, cool camps, unforgettable birthday parties, engaging field trips and STEM curricula, professional development workshops for educators, distinguished speakers, and more.
The Museum celebrates diversity and welcomes visitors from all walks of life. The Museum hours are Mondays until May 31 (Memorial Day): Closed to the Public; Tuesday–Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m. Starting May 31 (Memorial Day), the Museum will be open Monday–Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m.-5 p.m. For more information about the Museum, please visit mods.org or call 954.467.MODS (6637).
MODS WELCOMES INDIVIDUALS FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE
to visit, experience, connect and discover inspiring science. We support all family structures, creating a culture of hospitality where diversity is celebrated. Our doors are open to everyone: individuals and families with physical and emotional disabilities and disparities in education, social and economic status. We embrace our truly diverse community of various ethnicities, religions, gender identification and sexual orientations. All are welcome here.