Little Science Lab’s return brings STEM concepts to more preschoolers

Little Science Lab programs will return to select Sno-Isle Libraries community libraries in October.

Brooke Hereth, an educator with Imagine Children’s Museum, explains how metal can float in water during a Little Science Lab program at Sultan Library.

Little Science Lab programs help children ages 3-5 discover STEM concepts — science, technology, engineering and math. A museum educator guides the hands-on learning exercise so that parents and caregivers can support their children.

“We’ve been eagerly waiting to learn about grant funding for Little Science Lab programs,” Feldman said.

Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett received grant funding from the Discuren Foundation and the Boeing Co. to bring Little Science Lab programs to Sultan, Monroe, Mariner, Lakewood/Smokey Point, Granite Falls, Lake Stevens, Darrington and Lynnwood libraries, said Nick Spicher, Education Manager with Imagine Children’s Museum.

Darrington and Lynnwood are new to the program this year, said Joy Feldman, Lead Librarian for Early Literacy with Sno-Isle Libraries.

Preschoolers get hands-on experience to learn why aluminum can float in water during a Little Science Lab class at Sultan Library.

“The library and Imagine Children’s Museum both put a huge focus on making sure that parents are actively engaged,” Feldman said. “It maximizes the benefits children get in these wonderful programs.”

Little Science Lab returns to the Sultan Library at 11 a.m. Wednesdays starting Oct. 9, Granite Falls Library at 10 a.m. Fridays starting Oct. 11, Lake Stevens Library at 9:30 a.m. Thursdays starting Oct. 17, and Lakewood/Smokey Point Library at noon Fridays starting Nov. 1.

The remaining Sno-Isle Libraries community libraries will schedule Little Science Lab classes in the coming weeks at sno-isle.org/events. Mariner Library plans to offer bilingual Little Science Lab classes and Lynnwood Library is looking at possible evening classes. Some libraries will require advance registration because space and supplies are limited, Feldman said. Check online for details.

Sno-Isle Libraries and Imagine Children’s Museum started offering Little Science Lab in 2017, and had the program in six community libraries in 2018. The program is in eight community libraries this year.

“It’s a way to create more equity and access to STEM activities,” Feldman said. “Imagine Children’s Museum and Sno-Isle Libraries are both committed to offering free, high-quality STEM programs to communities that otherwise might have limited access to these opportunities.”

Research shows that exposure to STEM during early childhood is critical to putting children on a path to develop a love of scientific inquiry, and children are naturally inquisitive, she said. Little Science Lab enhances and expands library programs to bring high-quality STEM programming to children and families.

Class topics range from birds to magnets to plants and develop important science and math process skills such as critical thinking and making observations. “Many of our libraries select books connected to class topics for families to check out and extend the learning at home,” Feldman said.

Feedback from staff and participants has been overwhelmingly positive, she said. One caregiver of a 3-year-old recently shared, “My daughter loves the Little Science Lab and is so excited when she sees something that connects to a recent lesson she had. After we had the bird lesson she saw a crow and gleefully shouted, ‘Look! Birds have two wings and a beak!’ ”

Another caregiver said, “Little Science Lab has been really great for my daughter. It presents perfect small concepts. She will be going into kindergarten unafraid of math and science.”