A $1.5 million gift will allow the Maryland Science Center to expand its Head Start program to serve 170 more city children, the organization announced Tuesday.
The Science Center announced that the gift, from Baltimore philanthropist Mary Catherine Bunting, will help fund its Ready, Set, Go Science program, a year-long community outreach initiative that will now serve two-thirds of all of children in Baltimore’s federally funded early-childhood development program for low-income children.
The program takes Maryland Science Center experts into classrooms once a month, where children engage in hands-on activities and learn to make observations, identify characteristics, investigate properties and take home activity kits, according to the organization.
The Ready, Set, Go visits begin in October, and will serve Catholic Charities Head Start and St. Vincent de Paul Head Start.
The gift will also support new “Family Nights” for students and their families to enjoy an evening at the Maryland Science Center with free admission.
Van Reiner, president and CEO of the Maryland Science Center, said in a release that the gift would yield “immeasurable benefits” for city children.
“Early science education sets the foundation for enriched lives filled with exploration,” Reiner said.
In a statement, Mary Catherine Bunting called early exposure to science “crucial.” And said her exposure to science at a young age, visiting the Maryland Academy of Sciences as a child, inspired her to make the donation.
“It was my introduction to the importance of teaching children to recognize what is happening in the world around them,” she said. “As a result, when I was recently introduced to the Ready, Set, Go program, it was an easy decision to support it.”