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Strong Museum of Play expands pre-K to 120 slots

Shane Rhinewald, Strong Museum
The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, NY, is an interactive, interactive museum devoted to the history and exploration of play.

The Strong National Museum of Play is expanding its prekindergarten program in a growing trend of pre-K expansions in the Rochester area.

The museum’s Woodbury School is increasing classroom space to accommodate up to 120 pre-K and preschool students starting next academic year.

Lisa Feinstein, the museum’s president for advancement, said Thursday that approaching learning through play helps kids grow in multiple dimensions.

“When you think about the value of play, and physical, emotional, cognitive and social development, it does force you to test boundaries, it forces you to work within a set of rules, but also negotiate with one another,” Feinstein said.

Play also has the power to help children adjust, she said, particularly in their transition into socializing with kids their own age and being away from home, something that might be foreign to them as the pandemic moves into its third year.

“Play lets you explore. It allows you to learn how to collaborate with others, and it allows you to imagine different scenarios,” she said. “So, as we move into our kind of post-pandemic world, play is especially important for little ones because it drives learning but it also drives healing.”

The Woodbury School expansion includes rooms for reading, art, and new classrooms. Feinstein says financial aid is available for the next school year.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.