Natick-based MathWorks has awarded The Learning Center for the Deaf (TLC) a $5,000 grant to purchase STEAM supplies for its Early Childhood Center (ECC).
The ECC provides deaf and hard-of-hearing children ages 3-6, and their families, with innovative, research-based instruction and enrichment. ECC includes a preschool for children ages 3-4, and kindergarten for children ages 5-6.
The preschool is a child-centered, full-day program founded on the belief that knowledge is intuitively sought by children through their own actions and experiences. ECC’s kindergarten is also a full-day program, which fosters child-directed learning and skill-building in bilingual communication (ASL and English), English literacy, math, science, and social studies. On average, TLC’s ECC serves 30 children and families per year.
TLC recently updated its overall curriculum with a particular emphasis on 21st century STEAM teaching and learning goals. STEAM concepts are being incorporated into all of TLC’s teaching. Grant funds from MathWorks will be used to expand ECC’s inventory of STEAM materials, including supplies for ECC’s outdoor and indoor classrooms. The outdoor classroom was created in 2019 through a generous donation from an anonymous donor; the outdoor space is used daily, year-round, by all ECC students.
The outdoor classroom is designed to enhance academic/science learning and motor skills development through sensory stimulation and interaction with nature. The materials ECC seeks to purchase for the outdoor classroom include bird feeders and gardening supplies; worm composting kits; excavator toys; jumbo magnet tiles; magnetic building blocks; kits to create architectural blueprints; manipulative shapes for light tables; art supplies, and a variety of sensory materials such as colorful plastic pellets.
“All children benefit from sensory stimulation,” said Milmaglyn Morales, Director of TLC’s Early Childhood Center. “It is particularly important for young deaf children to have access to a wide array of sensory activities, including hands-on tactile activities, to fully develop their dominant senses and to develop a level of comfort with different textures and outdoor experiences. The supplies to be purchased with our MathWorks grant have all been carefully chosen to promote our students’ growth and development.”
MathWorks’ social mission is to support communities through initiatives that advance STEM education, foster staff volunteerism, build environmental sustainability, and aid global relief efforts.