As we approach Thanksgiving and take stock of what we are most thankful for, what comes to mind is the power of collaboration and partnerships. At KID Museum, collaboration is not only how we approach our work as an organization, but a core value of our educational philosophy. We know that to go far, we must go together. I am so thankful for our ability to continue to cultivate this value (and skill) in the children we serve — and also for the partnerships we’ve forged with our community over the years.
Through our programming, we help kids discover the power of collaboration through design challenges that require teamwork, group decision-making, and feedback. I’m proud that we have been able to incorporate these elements into our virtual programming, demonstrating that learning online doesn’t have to mean learning in isolation. Working with others not only deepens understanding and encourages innovation, it also teaches youth to work through differences and appreciate perspectives different from their own — essential skills in preparing them to invent the future with creativity and compassion.
On the organizational level, we are collaborating with schools, government, businesses, and other organizations to create the best possible outcomes for kids. Partnerships like these are especially important right now, as the community comes together to respond to the pandemic and the resulting educational crisis. While we work together to address the immediate needs for kids, these partnerships can set the stage to reimagine our educational landscape and transform what learning looks like.
There’s growing momentum on an international level to act on this opportunity. At the recent HundrED Innovation Summit, educators from around the world examined how we can remake learning for the modern age. KID Museum is involved in this important work through our partnership with Remake Learning, a network of educational organizations that are actively innovating to better serve kids across the nation.
In our own community, we have teamed up with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to combat learning loss for our most vulnerable kids. I’m excited to share with you a number of new initiatives:
- Invent the Future Challenge: We are gearing up for the fourth year of our highly successful Invent the Future Challenge program for middle schoolers. Rather than offer a diminished program during the pandemic, we’ve designed a robust virtual experience that includes hands-on invention learning, curriculum integration, and teacher training over the course of sixteen weeks. Just this week, we loaded up school buses with hundreds of maker kits for our first Invent the Future cohorts. We intend to reach over 1,000 kids though Invent the Future Challenge this year, matching or exceeding the number reached in previous years.
- Enrichment for elementary school students: KID Museum will begin rolling out deep-dive, live-streamed coding programs for MCPS fourth graders in the coming weeks, and we will offer additional invention programming to every MCPS elementary student as part of the district’s student-led instruction time.
- Equity Hubs: We are proud to be a part of Montgomery County’s efforts to reach those children most affected by pandemic-related learning loss, through in-person Equity Hubs. Beginning this week, KID Museum will be providing creative, virtual enrichment programs for kindergarten through fifth grade students who are a part of the hubs. The Equity Hubs are a true example of the power of collaboration, made possible by The Children’s Opportunity Fund and the Black and Brown Coalition, with the support of the Montgomery County Council, MCPS, and private funders — all coming together to support our kids.
Effective collaboration like this shouldn’t end when the current crisis is over; it should instead be a model for how we can meet the needs of our children every day. Working together to better serve our kids is always a good idea. Let’s take this opportunity to innovate and improve educational outcomes — and let’s do it together.