The San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum is no longer just a museum, it’s now also home to The Thinkery, a preschool enrichment program. Karen Ames, a SLO native with a degree in early childhood education and over 19 years of experience as a preschool teacher, runs the school within the museum.
Unlike other preschools, The Thinkery is unique in that it has access to the entire museum as its classroom, and each day in class has museum time built into daily activities. In addition to their activities at the museum, The Thinkery has participated in several STEAM Alley events sponsored by the Children’s Museum at our Downtown SLO Farmers’ Market, mostly helping with the big blue foam blocks that allow kids to build and interact. Last year, the preschool also sponsored a large square at the via dei Colori SLO sidewalk chalk painting festival, which all Thinkery kids were invited to join in decorating.
Ames decided to call the school “The Thinkery” because it’s reflective of a place where children will be thinking, asking questions, examining and finding out why. “The Thinkery is a preschool where kids are able to explore,” Ames says. “Children will receive a high quality preschool program, have a loving and caring teacher, and will be able to learn important things in a social environment.”
Since opening over a year ago, the school has been enrolling new students on a monthly basis in two classes, one for children ages 2½ to 4 and the other for 4 to 5 year olds. Each class is capped at a twelve-person capacity, in order for Ames to connect and relate to each child personally.
Ames welcomes parents who are interested in sitting in and participating to come to a class, where their kids are encouraged to engage with their natural sense of wonder and curiosity. The Downtown location offers a unique experience for kids to be educated within a museum, an opportunity that is usually only offered in bigger cities. Ames hopes to continue to grow her classes with families looking for a well-rounded education for their kids right in Downtown San Luis Obispo.
By: Jackie Steele