The Patricia and Philip Frost Science Museum in Coconut Grove has a special program that allows children to stay in its facilities and learn during the seven days of teachers’ planning marked as days off in the Miami-Dade school calendar.
The so-called “MiniCamps” were designed so parents can leave their children in a safe and educational place those days without classes.
Michelle Beumer, the program director, said that the initiative seeks to promote educational activities related to science and arts for children to have fun while they learn.
“The program is for children from preschool to fifth grade,” Beumer said. “We divide them in groups by grade so that they can participate in activities according to their age.”
The classes are open to all Miami-Dade County children from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the dates designated by the county public schools.
“Each MiniCamp will have a different topic related to science so that children can explore various areas. It’s a mix of science and art,” said Angele Dossous, one of the teachers in thye program.
Each class will have 25 children with a teacher and an assistant who will be in charge of the day’s activities.
The program also gives volunteers and high school students the opportunity to take part and use the volunteer time toward their required community-service hours.
The children will also have two hours every day to explore the museum and art galleries. The cost for museum members will be $45 a day, or $55 for non-members.
During their stay, Beumer said, the children will also participate in outdoor activities to enjoy the indigenous birds and plants in the museum.
“We have an aquarium where the children can touch starfish, prawns and other sea animals while they learn their names and habitats,” Beumer said.
The program’s philosophy is to educate and offer the children a fun and different off-school day.
“It’s a good way to solve the problem many parents face those days,” Dossous said. “Instead of leaving their children with a nanny, or in a daycare, they register them in a program where they will enjoy a productive and rewarding day.”
The seven days designated and their topics are as follows:
Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014: Body Basics
Friday, Oct. 24, 2014: Space Exploration
Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014: CSI Science
Friday, Jan. 16, 2015: Dinosaurs
Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015: Heart beats
Friday, March 20, 2015: Brain waves
Friday, April 3, 2015: Nano