HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – The Women’s League opened a new STEAM lab in Hartford on Thursday with the purpose of engaging students in learning at a young age.

The Women’s League Child Development Center cut the ribbon for its new STEAM Learning Lab.

“Their disposition is, how do we keep learning, how do we keep growing,” said Beth Bye, Commissioner of the Connecticut Office for Early Childhood.

The STEAM acronym, and extension of STEM, encompasses science, technology, engineering, math and art.

The new STEAM lab includes:

  • A miniature greenhouse
  • A wind tunnel
  • A magnetic gear wall
  • Building materials
  • A conveyor belt
  • Laptop computers
  • Interactive learning materials

“I thought it was really important to incorporate the arts because so often it gets pushed out of the educational programs and that’s a place children can really be creative and express themselves,” said Karen Lott, Executive Director of the Women’s League Child Development Center.

The lab is the first in the area to service preschoolers as well as toddlers and infants. The Women’s League says they want to get kids engaged in STEAM as early as possible.

“We often hear about the gaps between suburban children and urban children, and often with urban children falling behind,” Lott said. “We’re going to give them that stimulating environment that will hopefully give them a leg up.”

Melinda Johnson is the parent of two boys. She’s thrilled to have a place to expose them to STEAM and prepare them for the rest of their education.

“As a parent you know three and five are those ages where you’re always saying, ‘don’t touch, don’t do that, get away from there.’ Here’s a space where they can touch and they can explore, and they can use those elements of their learning that are essential to their growth and development,” Johnson said.

All 115 kids currently enrolled at the Women’s League will have the opportunity to explore and learn in the STEAM lab. Those interested in enrolling their child can begin the process here.

If you would like to support the STEAM lab, proceeds from an event celebrating Treasurer Shawn Wooden will benefit it.