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ComEd grant helping Homewood Science Center develop programs for young children

A $10,000 grant from ComEd Powering the Arts grant is enabling the Homewood Science Center to launch a special program for children ages 3 through 9 that gets them tinkering, making things and using engineering techniques through the STEAM Studio.

The monthly programs in the STEAM Studio activities focus on science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM). The newest programs were developed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. They are also paired with a book. In October, the reading is “Extra Yarn” written by Mac Barnett. The books will be available for parents to read with their children, or enjoyed during group reading as part of the STEAM Studio sessions Saturdays at the HSC, 18022 Dixie Highway. The programs are free.

“The arts are there in so many different ways. Finding a solution in engineering, there’s an artistic development to that. Communicative science is done through the arts,” said Edie Dobrez, executive director of the Homewood Science Center. “Arts is just part of our DNA, and we really appreciate that ComEd understands that you can’t separate arts from science and engineering, and really math or technology either.”

Dobrez said the center’s staff placed the focus on very young children because they can explore science at an early age and not even realize it. Kids as young as 2 and 3 will tinker with different objects and tools. As they age, their interest is in making things, she said. The 8- and 9-year-olds will develop a plan and build a simple engineering project that will do something.

The Homewood Science Center also hosts STEM Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. where families can get creative in the STEAM Studio, build with large-scale Imagination Playground blocks in the Michael Wexler Theater space, explore the Nano exhibit, and talk to scientists and STEM experts. Upcoming programs are Oct. 16 the topic is “Creatures of the Night: Little Brown Bats” presented by the Cook County Forest Preserve District on Oct. 16, and “Exploring Chemistry, Marker Chromatography” presented by the H-F Science Ambassadors on Oct. 30.

For more information, visit homewoodsciencecenter.org.

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