Developing & Extending the Scope of Seymour’s Living Lab at the Children’s Museum of Richmond

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At the core of the partnership between VCU Psychology and the Children’s Museum of Richmond (CMoR) is the Living Lab (LL) initiative, a national program previously supported by the National Science Foundation. The Living Lab was designed to educate the public about child development by bringing onsite research into informal learning environments such as CMoR (APA, 2013; also see here). The program was successful in its educational efforts (APA, 2013) and in demonstrating psychological science as a STEM discipline (APA, 2011). The national Living Lab initiative ended in 2016, which presented the opportunity to build on the established LL model to better meet the needs of local communities under CMoR’s “Seymour’s Living Lab” (SLL). Thus, the funded project: developed a VCU service learning course (PSYC493: Developmental Science, Making it Real), including supporting educational materials; established the SLL branding; solidified the VCU-CMoR partnership; and collected SLL feasibility data for SLL and the partnership. Establishing the core model of the local SLL and providing data regarding feasibility were the key impact points of this project, as it ultimately ensured ongoing opportunities for VCU students and increased the reach of SLL to more community children and families. Inherent in this was solidifying the mutually beneficial model of collaboration toward deepening and broadening VCU student learning.

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Children's Museum of Richmond

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