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May 14

Children’s Discovery Museum and PNC Foundation support Heartland Head Start

Posted on May 14, 2020 at 11:49 AM by Wendy Long

News Release

Children’s Discovery Museum and PNC Foundation support Heartland Head Start with playful learning kits

Normal, IL – May 14, 2020 – The Children’s Discovery Museum will allocate funds from a PNC Foundation grant supporting its Grow up Great Through the Power of Play program to assist families served by Heartland Head Start Partner Sites during the coronavirus crisis.

The grant incorporates STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education into the classroom to better prepare youth for future learning. The annual program also typically includes a free Family Fun Night at the Museum to inspire the love of learning through the power of play across multiple generations. However, this year’s spring family event had to be canceled as the Museum closed amid the COVID-19 crisis.

The PNC Foundation generously approved the Museum’s request to repurpose the unused dollars to support families in a different way. Museum Education staff members decided to create 275 kits containing six activities that are meant to help develop STEAM-based learning skills. All of the kits are self-contained, providing all materials necessary to complete the projects. The free kits will be delivered to Heartland Head Start sites the week of May 11, with the intention of including the Power of Play along with the sites’ food distribution program.

“We are disappointed that we will not be able to hold our annual private family night at the CDM for the families of Heartland Head Start this spring. However our hopes are that through these activity kits, the families will still be able to learn, play, and develop fun memories together while at home,” said Erin Wiese-Reichert, the CDM’s Early Childhood Educator.

The kits will supplement what families are currently receiving from their educational institutions. In addition, there will be sufficient supplies in the packets to encourage other family members to get involved in the learning fun.

“Thank you to PNC Foundation for allowing the flexibility in the use of their funds,” Wiese-Reichert added. “Without their flexibility and open-mindedness we would not be able to reach our families during this important time for children learning at home.”

During the shutdown, the Museum is also offering free resources to the general public on its website Families can find a free Daily Dose of Play that includes playful learning activities for different ages, video challenges led by CDM Education staff, and a dozen links to help enhance e-learning.


About PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (, actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life. For more information, visit

About the Children’s Discovery Museum  The mission of the Children’s Discovery Museum is to inspire the love of learning through the power of play. The Children’s Discovery Museum Foundation exists to support the mission and vision of the Museum through raising funds and awareness in the community. To learn more, visit, Like us on Facebook, follow @DiscoveryMuseum on Twitter, and follow @cdmnormal on Instagram.   #CDMPowerofPlay