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Culture starts here: SLO Children's Museum introduces program for preschoolers 

click to enlarge CREATIVE ARTS:  The Thinkery program will be held in various parts of the museum, giving kids the opportunity to do in-depth exploring. - PHOTO BY HENRY BRUINGTON
  • CREATIVE ARTS: The Thinkery program will be held in various parts of the museum, giving kids the opportunity to do in-depth exploring.

Have you ever heard of Baby Einstein? That extremely weird line of toys and videos specifically designed to morph your tot into a veritable genius? Well if you’re still holding out the hope of raising your own genius baby, San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum has got your back. They’re offering a significantly less creepy alternative for educating your child this fall. For the first time, the museum will be holding a preschool enrichment program called the Thinkery, giving your kid something worthwhile to fill their days with, while simultaneously offering you a few hours of much-needed peace and quiet during a hectic week.

“We are so excited to offer this to the community,” said Karen Ames, the director of the Thinkery. “Many large children’s museums offer preschool enrichment programs at their museums. This is the first time that the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum has been able to offer a preschool enrichment program in their awesome building!”

Ames has been involved with preschool education all around SLO County for 18 years. In addition, she began the “Imaginarium,” which is a business that creates traveling exhibits for children’s museums throughout the United States.

“My favorite part about working with children is their openness, honesty, enthusiasm, and the vivacity in which they view the world,” Ames said. “I enjoy every part of the day: interacting with the kids, craft time, story time, and outdoor play.”

The program begins Sept. 2, and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays. The program will be divided into two sessions, with one in the morning from 9 a.m. to noon for 2- to 4-year-olds, and one in the afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. for tots ages 4 to 5. Each week, the kids will be able to learn about a different theme or “unit,” such as ocean life, pets, or children around the world. Other activities include story workshops, art projects, group games that all pertain to the specific unit being studied, as well as outdoor recess.

“The advantage of having a preschool enrichment program at the Children’s Museum is that during our free time the kids will be able to explore all three floors of the museum in depth,” Ames said. “Usually families come to the museum as a special treat, so kids are very excited and run from exhibit to exhibit barely touching the surface of what each exhibit has to offer. At the Thinkery we will be able to spend time with the wonderful exhibits and delve deeper into the whys and hows of the spinning table, the dinosaur digs, the microscope, and the Claymation station.”

Enrollment for the academic year costs $240. For more information about the program, call Karen Ames at 239-9333 or email her at [email protected].


Fast fact

The SLO County Democrats will be having their 57th annual celebration of Labor Day with a traditional barbecue from Phil’s Catering. Special guests include Congresswomen Lois Capps, Sen. Bill Monning, and Supervisor Caren Ray. The event will be held Monday Sept. 1 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Strother Park in Arroyo Grande. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children, and are available at the SLO County Democratic Party Headquarters or online at For more information about the event, call 546-8499 or visit


Intern Adriana Catanzarite wrote this week’s Strokes and Plugs all by herself, like a grownup. Send nonprofit and business news to [email protected].

Readers Poll

Do you think the SLO County Board of Supervisors should have gone against their policy that states funding for independent special districts should not result in a net fiscal loss to the county?

  • A. Yes, the housing and job opportunity the Dana Reserve is bringing is important
  • B. No, it's giving special privileges to the Nipomo Community Services District
  • C. I trust them, they know what's best for the county
  • D. What's going on?

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