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Hands-On Learning: Thousands Take Part In ‘Pre-K At Play’ Program

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thousands of Baltimore preschoolers venture outside the classroom to take a stroll through Baltimore. It’s all part of a program that sparks learning through hands-on play.

Gigi Barnett explains it has a lesson for parents too.

Hands-on, interactive play. That’s how learning begins for the smallest students.

It’s why hundreds of Baltimore preschoolers visited the Maryland Science Center through the “Pre-K at Play” program.

“I learned about butterflies,” a student said.

They’re lessons a 4-year-old could get in the class from a teacher. But a field trip to a new place is much more fun.

“We don’t want them to feel that school is a burden. We want them to feel that school is about discovery,” said Dr. Andres Alonso.

City Schools CEO Dr. Andres Alonso says the Pre-K at Play Day is a citywide event for more than 4,000 4 and 5 year olds. It’s also a chance to show parents the importance of Pre-K.

“A lot of kids, they come to the Pre-K program, they’re ready for kindergarten. They’re adding, subtracting, doing measurements,” said Rosalind Waters, Calloway elementary teacher.

The Science Center is one of 30 places where Pre-K students visited around the city. Teachers say it’s not just for the students, but they’re also inspired by the learning here as well.

“I brainstorm while I’m here so I get a lot of different ideas when I see some of their exhibits, and then I can replicate them on a much smaller scale at school. They use all of their senses to learn things at this age,” said Loretta Baker, Pre-K teacher.

Teachers say when their Pre-K students learn with all of their senses, instructors can bring real world concepts into the classroom.

Meanwhile, some of the other places the children visited were the Maryland Zoo, Cafe Hon in Hampden and the Baltimore City Police Department.

City school leaders have hosted the event every year for the last three years.

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