The DoSeum is San Antonio's only museum just for children where kids learn by doing, creating and tinkering, instead of just looking and listening.
2017 was a year of growth for The DoSeum. Not only did we bring in a new STEM exhibit (Science Fiction, Science Future), present digital-age guru Randi Zuckerberg for the annual Outside the Lunchbox talk, host four smashing ReDo events, celebrate our millionth guest, and offer a month of complimentary admission to Hurricane Harvey victims…The DoSeum also expanded its partnership with San Antonio Independent School District and provided even more engaging, onsite programs. To put it in numbers, in 2017 The DoSeum reached over 800 local kids with its summer programs, 187 educators through the Master Teachers program, 3,000 families with Maker Workshops, and 16,000 students through field trips—50% who received scholarships through DoSeum For All funding.
With so many amazing and accessible, educational programs, The DoSeum tackled its mission to grow minds and transform communities. This year, beyond being a weekend destination for families, The DoSeum expanded its role as a fundamental resource for everyone by offering summer camps and afterschool programs for kids, and providing professional development for teachers.
Starting with students and teachers, The DoSeum continued its comprehensive partnership with SAISD that will reshape the entire district. The focal point of this partnership is the year-long SAISD Master Teacher Program, which uses the Engineering is Elementary curriculum. The goal of EiE, developed by the Boston Science Center, is to empower teachers to use resources, rather than a scripted curriculum, to meet the specific needs in their classroom. The SAISD program begins with an immersive professional development foundational training that gives teachers the basics of EiE and how to use it in the classroom. They are trained in the principles of constructivism, a form of teaching that actively involves students and can include the engineering and design process. The 187 teachers throughout 50 schools involved in The DoSeum’s Master Teachers Program will then go on to lead other teachers in their schools, sharing knowledge and providing support within their district.
“The feedback we’ve received from teachers has been extremely positive,” said Chris Navarro, Director of Public Programs and Partnership. “Master Teachers have been charged with facilitating growth in students that would, otherwise, be falling behind. The teachers in the foundational training reported on surveys that over 95% are eager to implement EiE in their classrooms and would recommend The DoSeum professional development to their peers.”
The DoSeum continued other professional development opportunities outside of SAISD partnership, including STEMtastic, a quarterly, open house-styled event with keynote speakers and break-out activities for educators, as well as the third year of the STEM Cohort, which is The DoSeum’s original professional development program utilizing EiE. Another fruitful project, the Strengthening Schools and Families program, has created closer bonds between teachers, students and caregivers. Each of three Strengthening Schools and Families nights at The DoSeum, San Antonio-area teachers bring their families to meet students’ families. By removing all barriers for attending—serving dinner, providing childcare for younger siblings, and reimbursing the school for transportation costs—The DoSeum makes the evening a welcoming environment for all. The fun begins after dinner, when teachers and families are given a STEM or design challenge to solve together.
“On these nights, the teacher learns alongside their students and families,” said Navarro. “Outside the traditional school setting, both caregivers and teachers see each other in a new light. Simply sharing the joyous experience of having a child in a public space can be a bonding experience.”
Our other in-house programming brought smiles and learning to San Antonio children, including 50 camps, offered during Spring Break, summer, and during the Holidays. Camps at The DoSeum cater to a wide range of STEM, literary, and art interests— from investigating how to make the perfect playdough, to designing bridges and coding robots. Over 800 children from ages three to 11 participated in camps. In addition to camps, our weekly drop-in Maker Workshops kept things interesting at the Innovation Station. About 3,000 children from one to 11 stopped by this year to tinker, design, and build everyday items, all the while practicing creativity and engineering.
The DoSeum’s Little Doers PreSchool, which supports social, emotional, cognitive and physical development, served 56 children in 2017. The Little Doers’ learning environment is play-based, and filled with big fun for tiny hands. Then there were field trips! Kids from over 250 schools came to The DoSeum and connected their classroom lessons with real-world field experiences, including “City Builders,” “Spot the Bot,” and “Energy Explorers.”
Looking forward to 2018, The DoSeum’s Education Department will coordinate with the city’s Tricentennial project, San Antonio 300, as well as SA2020 and SA Tomorrow, to create the Dream Tomorrow Today exhibit. Our previous summer challenge, DigiPlaySpace reached 8,000 children city wide, and we hope to grow beyond those numbers in the New Year.
Carrying the momentum from this year, The DoSeum will continue growing in strides, expanding our impact in local schools, and being a dynamic force in learning and play in San Antonio.