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Great Lakes Science Center launches 'Learning Lab' to help provide daytime educational childcare during pandemic

“Learning Lab is school-day support for families, like a bridge between the classroom and home."

CLEVELAND — As school districts across Northeast Ohio decide how they will be handling reopening classes with the COVID-19 pandemic still a concern, many parents may be left wondering how a virtual or hybrid week of at-school classroom instruction and at-home online learning will impact their family and schedule.

Great Lakes Science Center has stepped up with a new program called "Learning Lab" to assist working parents who need daytime childcare for their children in grades K-8.

The Learning Lab provides a safe, supportive environment where children can do their schoolwork virtually. 

“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.”

The Science Center has designed the program to be appropriate for children who will spend part of their day participating in school virtually or doing homework. The STEM Learning team will facilitate the day, providing an experience that is more social and structured than what might be typically offered in childcare.

“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.”

In addition, Learning Lab provides “non-screen,” STEM-related activities when there is downtime from students' online school work, with opportunities to meet new friends and continue to experience the social and emotional growth that is an important part of each new school year.

The program requires a daily wellness check and masks for children and staff. Social distancing measures will be in place with small class sizes and ample spacing between work stations. Children will be supported to maintain proper mask hygiene and frequent hand washing. Learn more about the Science Center's health and safety protocols here.

Many of the Science Center’s health and safety procedures for programming during the pandemic were developed for Camp Curiosity, which served more than 1,000 children this summer.

Registration begins on July 29. Here are some other key facts:

  • DATES: Available Monday - Friday, August 24 - December 22
  • GRADES: K - 8
  • COST: $59 per day (10% discount for members)
  • DROP-OFF: 7:30 - 9 a.m.
  • PICK-UP: 2:30 - 3:30 p.m.
  • AFTER-CARE OPTION: 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. (additional $15 per day)
  • LUNCH OPTION: $7.50 per day (students may also pack a lunch)

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