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In December 2011, Massachusetts was one of nine states to win a federal Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge grant (RTTT-ELCG) to spur innovation in statewide systems of education. The Early Learning Challenge is designed to close the the achievement gap for high needs children and to ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

Boston Children’s Museum was selected by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care to implement a statewide strategy to bolster the capacity of museums and libraries to collaborate in their local communities by offering more support for early literacy programming, resources for STEM activities, a focus on kindergarten readiness, and participation in the state’s Brain Building in Progress campaign. Museums and libraries can play a stronger role in early learning for all children. As our nation commits to early learning as a national priority essential to our economic and civic future, it is time to become more intentional about deploying these vital community resources to this challenge.

56 libraries and 49 museums from across the state are active in the project. Museums participating range from our own 100 year old Boston Children’s Museum to the brand-new Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River. Historical museums range from Historic New England that represents 36 historic properties to the Beverly Historical Society with 3 houses. Science museums including the Museum of Science in Boston are participating, as is Zoo New England and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. The Museum of Fine Art in Boston, as well as Springfield Museum, Cape Ann Museum, Peabody Essex Museum, and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art are also participants.

The project benefits from the volunteer advisory participation of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and also the Massachusetts Library System (MLS). The MBLC provides a statewide listing of more than 1,700 libraries that are members of MBLC’s regional library system. The vast majority of libraries, including all 370 public libraries, most college and university libraries, about 1,000 school libraries and a smaller number of "special" libraries are included. All of the participating MBLC libraries are members of the MLS.

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