Project GreenStart is the early childhood environmental education initiative at Minnesota Children’s Museum. It sows the seeds of environmental awareness and sensitivity in young children. Project GreenStart’s mission is to provide quality early childhood environmental education experiences for children ages 2 through 8 and their caregivers and educators.
Centered in the Earth World gallery, Project GreenStart introduces young children to the natural environment through four Minnesota habitats. Through role play, large motor activity, exploration, and games, children become ants, crawl into a muskrat lodge, create a thunderstorm, and search for a goshawk’s lunch. These experiences, especially when guided by a caregiver, teacher, or trained guide, lay the foundation for understanding how the natural environment works.
In addition to the Earth World gallery experience, Project GreenStart offers unique programs for preschools, daycares, and early elementary students, as well as families. A school/Museum/nature center partnership includes an introductory program in the classroom, a focused trip to the Museum, and a culminating trip to a local nature center to experience the “real thing.” Earth World Tuesdays provide specialized environmental programming to preschool and kindergarten groups one day per month. In addition, a Museum Institute provides teacher training in environmental education for early childhood educators and elementary teachers.
Project GreenStart’s outreach programs bring children and parents together as nature explorers. Local urban and suburban parks provide a familiar and comfortable setting for discovering nature in a four-part series of programs called Sprouts! These programs are offered to Museum members and local community groups that promote age-appropriate learning activities for young children.