For the scientists and researchers at MedImmune, a global biotech with headquarters just outside of Washington, D.C., every day is “bring your child to work” day. While moms and dads work to develop new medicines, their kids are benefitting from a unique STEM-based curriculum at the company’s new on-site Bright Horizons child care center – Discovery Meadows Child Development Center.
According to the National Science Teachers Association, many adults tend to underestimate children’s capacity to learn science core ideas in the early years, despite growing research that supports its importance.
That’s why MedImmune scientist Ryan Cummings, who has two children enrolled at the center, came into the Pre-K classroom on February 16 to teach children about how medicine is made while making glow-in-the-dark slime.
The students used glue, glitter, and food coloring until they had the right consistency for their slime, which Cummings explained was similar to how scientists use trial and error to create and improve pharmaceuticals.
Cummings’ hands-on demonstration was part of the Visiting Scientist Program, one of two ways the center seeks to provide kids early opportunities to foster and build STEM skills and interest.
Through the Visiting Scientist Program, MedImmune employees – some of whom have children at the center – frequently join the classroom to teach lessons inspired by their own professions. A protein engineer recently taught students about bacteria utilizing petri dishes; another demonstrated the process of sublimation using dry ice and water.
Additionally, the center was built to have a zero-carbon footprint and expose the children to sustainable architectural elements. Students can watch the rainwater collection system run recycled rainwater through the classroom and tend to an outdoor garden. The building design allows students to draw connections about how their actions impact the world around them.