Aug. 29—In this weekly feature, we put five questions before someone in the community. Today, we chat with Neely Myers with the Creative Learning Alliance.
1. Could you tell us about the Creative Learning Alliance and how it got started?
The Creative Learning Alliance was founded as a result of the Vision Joplin 2022 Quality of Life committee. Many ideas were presented for the future of the region, one of which was a children's museum. The idea was well received and supported by the committee so a Board was formed to begin work on making this a reality for the Joplin metro.
The current board got to work on fleshing out the idea and decided to move forward with a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) concept for the center. I was thrilled to come on board as the project coordinator in April of this year and be part of this exciting attraction for our region. We are excited to currently be in our storefront location and to be working hard to secure a permanent home so that we can bring a full science center to our children and families.
We are located at 905 Main St. in Joplin and currently open exclusively for monthly themed labs.
2. What age groups does the Creative Learning Alliance aim to target and why?
We're really open to people of all ages. Some months, we see a lot of children ages 4-11; others we see older tweens and teens; and every month the parents seem to be having just as much fun as the kids.
3. How is the Creative Learning Alliance unique to the region and what opportunities can it provide for children?
We are unique in our focus on STEAM concepts in entertaining, hands-on ways that exists right here in the Joplin metro. There is no need to travel outside of the region to experience exhibits and experiments that will answer the questions of childhood like "how do planes fly" or "how do magnets work?" We offer opportunities to ask questions and to get answers by doing. We offer opportunities to keep trying until you figure something out. We offer opportunities to find something new that you love and maybe just discover that you can grow up to be something you never thought of before.
4. What upcoming events, activities will the Creative Learning Alliance be offering this year? How can people sign up?
We've just completed our Artemis 1 mobile launch party (plans) with NASA and EaglePicher, and have some exciting labs coming up in the next couple of months. In September, you will find us investigating the twists and turns of roller coasters and in October, we'll get hands on with some spooky science. Follow us across social media @creativelearningalliance for registration.
5. In what ways can the Creative Learning Alliance help prepare children for STEAM-based careers?
Our vision is to engage people of all ages in hands-on learning driven by curiosity and play. When children are engaged in play with real world, hands-on experiences, their imaginations come alive and they get the opportunity to engage with STEAM concepts in ways that are exciting and that help them identify fields of passion. It's that passion that is the foundation for seeking out more education, more training and more information for the fields of study in which they can flex those skills and that knowledge.
We are always looking for volunteers and outreach opportunities. If you're interested, you can call me at 417-850-7137 for more information.
Neely Myers is the project coordinator with Creative Learning Alliance, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization whose vision is to engage people of all ages in hands-on learning driven by curiosity and play.