By Erica L. Green
11:25 AM EDT, October 3, 2013
The Baltimore Orioles stepped up to the plate after the government shutdown canceled a field trip to the Fort McHenry National Monument, where 200 Baltimore pre-kindergartners were scheduled to visit Thursday.
The trip was part of the annual "Pre-K at Play" event, which for the last four years has sent thousands of 4-year-old students throughout the city to give them a hands-on learning experience at more than 30 of the city's famous landmarks and venues.
Oriole Park has been a stop in past years, where students received tours of the stadium and participated in warm-ups with players, but wasn't originally part of this year's tour because of the possibility the team could be playing in the post-season.
But when the city school system realized Monday that more about 200 students would lose a stop on their tour, they put out an all-call to venues to see if they could host more students, school officials said.
“The Orioles just stepped right in, so our little guys wouldn’t be disappointed," said Charlene Iannone-Campbell, director of early learning for the city school system.
Campbell brought the nationally-acclaimed Pre-K at Play program to the city. The program aims to connect learning with the world around them, and develop skills like reading comprehension and critical thinking.
In addition to Oriole Park, students will visit government buildings like City Hall, arts institutions like the Hippodrome and several museums including the Walters Art Museum and the Jewish Museum of Maryland.
"We are thrilled to provide this opportunity for children to experience the ballpark and to see some of the behind-the-scenes elements not usually open to the public on game days," said Greg Bader, vice president of communications and marketing for the Orioles.
Baltimore Sun reporter Tricia Bishop contributed to this article.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun