Congressman Joe Courtney, along with multiple members of town leadership, and early educators, made a special visit to learn about the PLAY Lab at Stowe. The PLAY Lab, going into the 4th year of operation, is managed and supported by KITE (Key Initiatives to Early Education) through grants from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving and LEGO Community Fund US. This unique, interactive environment at the Stowe Early Learning Center was designed to promote discovery, emphasize the creative process, and provide children with hands-on experiences to instill in them a love of learning. While visiting the PLAY Lab, children have an opportunity to imagine, design, invent, create and engineer using a variety of materials. KITE’s expertise behind the types of play exhibits are developed to support playful learning. KITE’s Project Coordinator, Jennifer Moncuse, is the lab’s curator and oversees the programming and events held in the lab and is in charge of changing the PLAYful experiences several times a year. Students enrolled in the Enfield Public School’s Pre-K, STEAM Academy and Integrated Preschool programs, as well as preschoolers who attend the Enfield Child Development Center at Stowe, enjoy the lab weekly.
In addition to the benefits the lab brings children attending in house programs, KITE is continuously making the lab available to the community. Private preschools and Home-based daycare make annual trips to with their students. Asnuntuck students use it as a learning laboratory to do observations and gain practical experience working with children. It is also used as a training space for early educators and providers, and provides the KITE Collaborative a space to come together 10 times a year. This year, KITE sponsored 10 field trips for Hazardville Memorial, Enfield Street, and Henry Barnard kindergartners to visit the PLAY Lab, as well as staffed 12 open PLAY Lab dates to the community for families to play with their children.