Connecting Children to the Stars (2018-2019)
The Rancho Mirage Library and Observatory's mission is to promote lifelong long learning. With a visit to our Observatory and Library campus, patrons and visitors alike can experience knowledge with our ample library and observatory programming.
For many children, the best learning opportunities happen outside the classroom. Connecting Children to the Stars is a field trip opportunity providing 5th grade Coachella Valley schoolchildren - both public and private - a visit to the Rancho Mirage Observatory. Based on our communication with the school districts, we are estimating to reach approximately 5,000 students.
The program will solicit and accept applications from Coachella Valley teachers and school administrators to fund the costs of transportation associated with a visit to the Observatory.
The goals of Connecting Children to the Stars include:
- Work with the three local school districts and private schools for transportation based on their requirements.
- Provide tour and astronomy program for Grade 5 Coachella Valley students
- Provide visual of operation of a state of the art observatory telescope under the guidance of a professional astronomer
- Provide an "away from classroom" experience in a beautiful and fairly complex and unusual learning environment
- Support the Coachella Valley Schools. Field trip experiences are central to their educational mission.
- Research has shown a pattern that the benefits of a school tour are generally much larger for students from less-advantaged backgrounds.
- Encourage student imagination, humility, connection and curiosity within the universe.
Libraries are a place for social transformation. They are places where reading, learning, and technology converge in one special public space. No other organization offers the opportunities for lifelong learning to be discovered by children in a friendly setting assisted by professional librarians. At the Rancho Mirage Public Library, this access to learning is spread across the entire Coachella Valley, with 48,000 cardholders from nine cities who enjoy the Library.
Libraries are adding maker spaces or using 3D printers on portable carts to create pop-up maker spaces where all ages gather to imagine and invent. The current Rancho Mirage Public Library popup space brings children and families together to use this exciting technology in the very familiar and popular Library Children's Room. Most shelving in that space is on casters, yielding a flexible floor plan to allow librarians to demonstrate to groups of varying sizes, that young imaginations can be fueled and expanded by 3D printing. Within this MakerSpace, eight monthly Saturday programs will take place, allowing children and families to learn from librarians and other experts. These programs will be dedicated to getting children excited about turning their design ideas into reality, inspiring them to keep creating.