Open the Door For All Children to Play and Learn
Children's museums facilitate the development of creativity and imagination, literacy, problem-solving and critical thinking-and we do it through play. At Minnesota Children's Museum we work every day to champion the power of play, to create an environment that is fun, but also fundamental to the development of our children-the same children who will go on to change the world.
The Museum implements three decades of research and early childhood education in the development of our exhibits and daily programs with the mission of sparking children's learning through play. We serve an additive role to day cares, pre-schools, Head Start, Early Childhood Family Education, engaged parents and caregivers in a unique manner that represents a valuable community resource.
Play for All Program
Our Play for All program employs a variety of strategies to ensure we are truly accessible - by reducing barriers such as income, transportation and physical access. Over 100,000 children and adults visited with free or reduced-cost admissions through our Play for All program in Fiscal Year 2011. Today, more than ever, the need to maintain the Museum’s Play for All program is vital. The Play for All initiative connects Minnesota Children's Museum to high-need families and groups through the following program initiatives:
All Play Family Memberships
The Museum provides free and reduced-priced family memberships to low-income and foster care families and is available to any family living at or below 200% of the poverty level. Enrollment forms are available in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali on the Museum’s website and in print, intended to help reach an even more diverse audience. Last year the Museum offered 2,244 free and reduced-priced family memberships, representing 17% of total memberships in FY11, totaling $201,848 in discounts.
Play for All Group Scholarship Program
The Museum has a multi-layered approach to partnering with schools and community organizations in order to assist them with whatever financial barrier(s) are most necessary, including discounted admission, Museum classes, free admission for chaperones, and field trip bus scholarships. Utilizing a sliding fee scale based on each school's free and reduced price meals population, the Museum experience can be affordable for every school budget. Last year, the Museum welcomed 52,218 students, teachers and chaperone visitors. Total discount offered by the Museum to serve these groups was $304,953.
Target Free 3rd Sundays
Target Free 3rd Sundays serves as an entry point for many children and families where admission price usually serves as a barrier for entrance. Promoted to more than 300 area organizations that serve families in need, this highly visible Museum program served 32,675 children and adults this year. Total discount offered by the Museum to welcome these visitors was $142,441.
Passport to Play
Passport to Play provides free and steeply discounted admission to families and is available to check out at all 14 Saint Paul Public Libraries and eight Dakota County Public Libraries. Last year 9,680 visitors came through this program, for a total discount of $59,067.
Head Start Partnerships
The Museum partners with all Head Start's located within the seven-county metro area. This partnership builds educator skills through hands-on professional development workshops, ensuring that children learn from highly qualified teachers. Each year the Museum hosts regular Head Start family nights, opening the Museum to Head Start families for a free night of play. For FY11, the Museum welcomed 5,780 visitors to these family events. Total discount offered by the Museum to serve these families was $48,957.