The Strong Collaborates with Gates Chili School District on Pre-K Curriculum

The Strong News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

October 9, 2014

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Kim Della Porta, 585-410-6325,

The Strong Collaborates with
Gates Chili School District
On Play-Based Pre-kindergarten

ROCHESTER, NY—The Strong museum will welcome teachers and faculty from Gates Chili School District on Friday, October 10 for a full-day workshop called “Playful Learning in the Early Childhood Classroom.” The workshop is the start of an ongoing collaboration between the museum and Gates Chili School District to support a play-based universal pre-kindergarten program (UPK) in the district. Gates Chili launched universal pre-K programming for 90 students on October 1.

“We welcome this opportunity to support a program that considers play as the foundation for its curriculum,” says Debbie McCoy, director of education at The Strong. “Research has shown that meaningful play enhances learning and development, making it important for all learners, but especially preschool-age children.”

As part of the partnership, The Strong will provide two on-site training sessions for Gates-Chili staff members—the one in October and another in April— focused on how to embed play and innovation into pre-kindergarten curriculum. Through presentations and small-group discussions, participants will learn how play supports learning and development, draw upon the museum’s interactive exhibits for school lesson ideas, and develop plans for their pre-kindergarten classrooms. They will also have an opportunity to learn about The Strong’s school lesson program.

The collaboration also includes field trips to The Strong museum throughout the school year for the 90 students in the Gates Chili pre-kindergarten program. Each trip will include a language arts, science, or health-related school lesson.

“A cornerstone of our UPK program is to expand our children's access to rich and varied learning experiences in order to prepare them for school success,” says Erin Ugine, UPK coordinator with Gates Chili. “Our partnership with The Strong is unique because early childhood specialists truly recognize the essential role of play within the learning process and human development.”

About The Strong

The Strong is the only collections-based museum in the world devoted solely to play. It is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play and houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play. Known widely as the nation’s museum of play, The Strong blends the best features of both history museums (extensive collections) and children’s museums (high interactivity) to explore the ways in which play encourages learning, creativity, and discovery and illuminates cultural history.