One museum, three sponsors, 20 community partners, and a COVID-19 vaccine provider came together over four free admission Community Days at Please Touch Museum during the summer of 2022. Nearly 10,000 children and families visited the Museum to experience special programming and learn about community resources to prepare for a successful return to school.
What began as a simple idea — to host COVID-19 vaccine clinics at the Museum (before they were approved for children under age 5) — quickly grew into a full-fledged event series. With our friends at Independence Blue Cross, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation and Keystone First stepping up to sponsor the event series, and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia signing on to serve as our vaccine provider, we announced the Ready. Set. School. event series including four free admission days to support families in getting their children ready and set to learn in the fall.
The Ready. Set. School. event series featured community partners and Museum programming surrounding four themes.
Eating for Energy centered around food and its origins, taking visitors to the Please Touch Garden to learn about pollinators that help crops thrive in addition to Food & Family where visitors participated in a seek-and-find to connect food found in the garden and grocery store, as well as foods that provide energy for our bodies.
Healthy Smiles celebrated the importance of smiles, how they can show people that you care, and why taking care of your teeth is important to your health. Programming featured close-looking workshops in our Albert M. Greenfield Makerspace and Strolling Science Lab carts where visitors could explore different kinds of animal teeth and enjoyed themed story times about proper care of our teeth.
Understanding Feelings focused on mental health, offering an emotion-based art-making project in the Creative Arts Studio, interactive story time with author and child therapist Marcella Kamile Norman, family yoga with Rana Walker, and mindfulness meditation family workshops with counselor Dr. Beverly Richards.
Bust a Move was packed with programs and partners focused on heart health and exercise. Educators hosted special movement programs and a dance party as part of the Museum’s End of Day Parade. Visitors participated in interactive story times with Thembi Palmer, an activity with child therapist and author Jenny Delacruz, and over 400 people visited the Makerspace to learn about heart health by observing sheep heart dissections.
Please Touch Museum is grateful to Ready. Set School. sponsors Independence Blue Cross, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, and Keystone First, whose support made the event series possible, and to the providers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who administered 276 COVID-19 vaccines, 52% of which were given to children under age five.
We are also grateful to the community partners below who provided valuable resources, giveaways, and programming for families to get Ready and Set for a successful School year. To see the program in action, head to 6 ABC’s website for a story that aired during our July event. Watch 6 ABC Story
- Community Health Navigators
- Keystone Dental Department
- CHIP Program
- Community Behavioral Health
- AJ Drexel Autism Institute
- Literacy & More
- Gemma Behavioral Health
- Philly Book Bank
- Family Food LLC
- Penn Medicine Students
- Philadelphia School District Office of Early Childhood Education
- University of Delaware Child’s Play Learning & Development Lab
- CHOP Center for Applied Genomics
- Cobbs Creek Publishing/Jenny Delacruz
- Thembi Palmer
- Rana Walker
- Marcella Kamile Norman
- Dr. Beverly Richards
- Drexel University Medicine & Franklin Institute Teen Volunteers