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Seriously, who knew there was a school inside the Miami Children’s Museum? It’s a public charter elementary school with a catchy name: Miami Children’s Museum Charter School. It’s also one of only two public schools in the nation located within a children’s museum.
The 300 students go to school every day where other kids go on field trips.
“We do museum learning, which is very hands on, we’re really pushing the envelope when it comes to traditional learning because we incorporate all of the galleries, as you can see, within the curriculum,” said principal Cristi Carmona as she showed us students being taught inside galleries.
For example, the bank exhibit seemed to be an excellent place in which students can learn about the value of money, and we saw that happening. We also saw math skills being taught in the supermarket exhibit and inside the interactive art gallery exhibit.
At the elementary school age, kids can grasp concepts better if they are literally grasping things, and that’ where the resources here come into play.
“They’re learning hands on, they’re processing it a different way, it’s not just sitting in the classroom listening to a teacher, they’re working with peers, going over what was taught in the classroom, in the gallery, in a much more fun, comfortable environment,” said Nadia Pallais, a science teacher.
The A-rated public charter school has eleven regular classrooms in which they teach the Miami-Dade Public Schools curriculum, and they draw students from everywhere.
“We have students who come from Homestead and Kendall, North Miami, mostly people that live in the downtown area, people that work in downtown, or at the port or in Miami Beach,” Carmona explained, noting that the museum’s after-school program allows parents who work in the area to pick up their kids after work.
They have a music program, teaching kids the basics, but Miami Children’s Museum Charter is a designated STEM school. That means there’s an emphasis on science and math reflected in the student test scores, so this marriage of two institutions of learning, a museum and a school, is working.