The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper


A $311,676 grant was awarded to The Imagination Station, the hands-on science learning center in Toledo, it was announced last week.

The grant is from the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ (IMLS) National Leadership Grants for Museums. The funding will bolster efforts by Imagination Station to help parents, program staff, and volunteers to promote an interest in science and to facilitate research and integration of design features to improve the quality of visitor experience.

The grant will enable the facility to develop Prime Time, a preschool network to promote early STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) learning in partnership with a number of local educational facilities, according to Emily Garcia, the public relations coordinator The Imagination Station

“This particular grant focuses on early childhood learning,” Garcia said to The Press last week. “It focuses on pre-school age children in preparing them to go to school. A study shows that more than 65 percent of children entering kindergarten in Lucas County are not ready to succeed. And so part of that is having some sort of STEM based knowledge before entering kindergarten. There’s a certain standard of academic level kids should have before entering kindergarten. They are simple things, such as knowing your colors – and they don’t know that going into kindergarten. This grant will help us develop a program to help those students become more successful.”

1 of 13 Of 60 applications the National Leadership Grants received by IMLS, Imagination Station, which receives funds from both public and private sources, was one of only 13 funded.

“This grant is a pretty big deal for us,” she said. “We get grants, but they’re not quite on this scale.”

Local and national partners with Imagination Station include the University of Toledo, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Polly Fox Academy, Summit YMCA Head Start, ASPIRE, and the Early Learners Collaborative, a national museum-based preschool learning network.

“The Imagination Station is the perfect facilitator to bring together our regional groups to enhance the STEM education of our youngest citizens,” said Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who announced the award on Tuesday. “While this specific project focuses on preschoolers, the science center is a vital resource for children and adults of all ages in our region.”

The partners will be working with the Imagination Station to develop different programs both at the facility and at the library. The other partners will provide assistance to the Imagination Station.

“We are so thrilled to be recognized by IMLS,” said Lori Hauser, Imagination Station CEO. “At Imagination Station, we recognize that the preschool years are such an important time for learning. This award will be great help to use in promoting kindergarten readiness in our community and getting kids excited about science at an early age. Early exposure can inspire children to pursue science and engineering fields.”


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