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Kidspace Children's Museum

Telling stories through STEAM enrichment with Kidspace Children’s Museum

Nonprofit

An LA 2050 grant will support Kidspace’s STEAM enrichment programming for students from Title 1 elementary schools in Los Angeles and Pasadena. Students will engage online and onsite with a museum exhibition about parade float design and construction; family workshops where they can build and decorate their own float model; online videos; downloadable lesson plans and family activities; and – health guidelines permitting – field trips and family access to participate in the decoration of a float for the 2022 Rose Parade.



Describe the mission of your organization.

To nurture the potential of all children through kid-driven activities, inspiring them to become joyful, active learners.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • San Gabriel Valley

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Education inequities abound in LA County, and COVID-19 brought this crisis under a spotlight when students began virtual learning in March 2020. While Kidspace’s home, Pasadena, is renowned for scientific achievement, fabled architecture, and myriad arts and culture opportunities, it’s also a place of staggering income inequality. Pasadena has the greatest number of private schools per capita in the U.S. with 45% of the city’s children enrolled in private school. Meanwhile, 68% of Pasadena’s public school students come from economically disadvantaged households. The COVID-19 crisis exacerbated this “tale of two cities” and the gaps in parents’ ability to work from home and support online classes, internet and device access, and disparities in access to virtual enrichment programs and opportunities for creative expression. Located in the shadow of the historic Rose Bowl, Kidspace has a unique opportunity to bridge the “two Pasadenas” around a learning opportunity built on civic pride.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Funding will allow Kidspace to launch an innovative STEAM learning program for students from Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), and for local families online, onsite, and in schools. K-5 students and their families will engage with Kidspace’s program team, and our partners from Artistic Entertainment Services (AES), a renowned parade float designer (and next-door neighbor to the museum), to explore the design, materials, animation, story, navigation, and build of an actual Tournament of Roses parade float. Students will engage online and onsite with a museum exhibition about float design and construction; family workshops where they can build and decorate their own float model; online videos; downloadable lesson plans and family activities; and – health guidelines permitting – field trips and family access to participate in the decoration of a float for the 2022 Rose Parade. This initiative builds on our experience over the last year working with LAUSD’s Season of STEM program to translate project-based learning for online and remote teaching using a parade float as the central project. With the return of the Rose Parade in 2022, this Kidspace learning program celebrates an event with the power to connect our community intellectually, physically, and emotionally.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

150
Direct impact
100,000
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Imagine an LA County where all children can joyfully and creatively engage with the world, and act as agents for their ideas and interests. Through this LA2050 project, Kidspace will continue to work with marginalized communities to bring in a new audience to share their culture, their stories, and emphasize the invaluable contributions every single person makes to the story of LA. Staggering inequities in our local education system often leads to silos in which some stories are heard louder than others, and some are not heard at all. Rather than lead children through linear, closed-ended experiences, we will design an inspiring and inviting enrichment program for them to explore according to their own interests and ideas. This challenging and highly engaging program will help PUSD and LAUSD students connect with hands-on STEAM concepts while giving them a voice and a platform to tell their stories with the tangible pieces they’ve created.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

When COVID-19 brought Los Angeles to a halt and left children learning at home for more than a year, the aforementioned inequalities in education were brought into stark relief. As it became clear that remote learning would continue into the 2020-21 schoolyear, organizations like Kidspace entered into a partnership with Season of STEM through LAUSD and the Broad Foundation to bring after-school enrichment to LAUSD elementary students. During the fall semester, students worked together with Kidspace and float builders from AES to tell the story of the “Best Day Ever,” which emphasized travel both near and far. During this spring 2021 semester, the students are working with a renowned puppeteer and Disney Imagineers to build a mechanical puppet that will be exhibited at Kidspace starting this summer. We are measuring quantitative impact – attendance, continued participation, etc. as well as qualitative impact through student, parent, and teacher testimonials.

Which of the learn metrics will you impact?​

  • Arts education
  • Enrollment in afterschool programs
  • Proficiency in STEM

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to CREATE
  • LA is the best place to PLAY

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