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BWLI Students and Committee

MCLA to Offer 'Berkshire Early Learning Lab'

08/23/2013

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) has received an "Improving Teacher Quality Title II, Part A Grant" to increase educator understanding of the science of early learning through the "Berkshire Early Learning Lab."

Administered by the state Department of Higher Education, the nearly $104,000 grant will fund a partnership between MCLA and local school districts, early education and care providers, as well as local museums. Together, they will offer a professional development program to educators who teach pre-K through the second grade.

The three-year program will be grounded in the science of early learning and focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subject areas, as the teachers prepare to utilize developmentally appropriate curriculum. In addition, "Berkshire Early Learning Lab" will include educational programming at museum partner sites. 

"This is an exciting partnership in building early educator capacity and forming stronger connections between and among the College, school districts, early education and care providers, and the museums," said Cynthia Brown, MCLA vice president of academic affairs.

"We are meeting a need to give educators time and professional resources to be able to develop and implement high quality curriculum in STEM and STEAM, as we leverage the successful partnerships of the Berkshire Compact for Education, Berkshire STEM Network, Berkshire Readiness Center and the STEM Pipeline," Brown said.

During the first year, the project will focus on STEM learning experiences. Years two and three will center more on arts integration and the production of STEAM (STEM plus Art) units.

Partners in this project include MCLA's Education Department and STEM programs; Adams-Cheshire Regional School District (ACRSD); North Adams Public Schools (NAPS); Northern Berkshire School Union (NBSU); Berkshire Head Start; Child Care of the Berkshires; Berkshire Museum; and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA).

This project advances the purpose and mission of MCLA's Center for Science and Innovation, Berkshire Compact for Education, and the Berkshire STEM Pipeline, all county-wide initiatives that promote a continuum of educational aspiration and attainment through the lifespan.

For more information, go to www.mcla.edu .