In June, Thinkery announced plans to bring our joyful learning experiences to the Del Valle ISD community through the STEAM Learning Institute and a first-of-its-kind Thinkery neighborhood museum all housed at the Del Valle ISD Central Child Development Center. The Center is now open for the school year with Thinkery exhibits projected to be installed next year. This project is part of Thinkery’s strategic priority to work with community partners to equitably expand access to play-based, STEAM-learning experiences.
On Friday, August 11, Del Valle ISD (DVISD) PreK-4 students cut the ribbon, officially opening the new DVISD Central Child Development Center. Meeting a need for affordable, high-quality childcare in the area, the Center offers care for the children of DVISD high school students, district staff, as well as students in the Head Start program.
This new Child Development Center is especially unique because it will fuse formal and informal learning experiences in a truly novel and innovative way. Thinkery’s STEAM Learning Institute will offer professional development and instructional coaching to early learner educators. The Center will serve as the home for our new Thinkery neighborhood museum – Thinkery Del Valle.
A novel model and innovative partnership
The partnership between Del Valle ISD and Thinkery first started with Thinkery offering its 15-year nationally recognized professional development program to district PreK educators. From there, through our discounted field trip programs for Title I schools, Del Valle students were able to visit Thinkery.
However, for many children and their caregivers there are barriers to accessing Thinkery’s museum in Austin’s Mueller development outside of a field trip, such as cost and transportation.
“A partnership with Thinkery means that our students have an ability to now be introduced to STEAM-learning in this child development center in Del Valle,” says Del Valle ISD Superintendent, Dr. Annette Tielle.
“All children have limitless potential, but not all children have limitless opportunity. And this space [the DVISD Child Development Center] is a step for us to change that. The learning experiences that will happen here will put these children on the path to thrive and cultivate a lifelong love of learning. We hope that the partnership between Thinkery and Del Valle ISD serves as a model on how to fuse formal and informal learning opportunities to create even greater impact.” shares Thinkery CEO Andy Bell.
Looking ahead to 2024
The Child Development Center is currently open, and Thinkery’s STEAM Learning Institute’s professional development experiences and instructional coaching will be ongoing throughout the school year. At the same time, Thinkery is listening to the community to hear what is important to them. Feedback from the community will influence the design of the exhibits that will be installed within the new neighborhood museum.
Thinkery – Del Valle is projected to open to the public in August 2024. We hope to have the museum freely available to the Del Valle ISD community outside of the school day, which will be made possible through philanthropic support.
Please contact Chief Campaign Officer, Shaleiah Fox, for more information on how you can support.