Recognizing the need for safe, summer programming options for communities with less access to these opportunities, Sun Life and the Museum are also donating the program to several Boston area organizations: the YMCA of Greater Boston Roxbury Branch, Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, Hyde Square Task Force, South Boston Neighborhood House and P.A. Shaw Elementary School in Dorchester.
“We’re excited to be able to work with Sun Life to support children and families this summer, and to extend the program to other families in need,” said Melissa Higgins, senior director of STEAM at Boston Children’s Museum. “It’s great to be able to bring the spirit of Boston Children’s Museum to families in their homes. We know it was a stressful spring and our hope is to be able to offer activities that are joyful and help kids discover something new.”
“We understand that keeping young children occupied at home has been challenging for our employees during the pandemic, so we want to help by providing something that will entertain and engage kids and the whole family,” said Dan Fishbein, president of Sun Life U.S. “We also know there are many more families in need of home-based summer activities for their children. We are thrilled to work with an organization like Boston Children’s Museum, a fantastic resource for content that educates and engages children, to offer our employees’ families and many others access to this program.”
In March, Sun Life pivoted overnight to having nearly all employees work from home. The company plans to continue the work-from-home approach in support of other companies who need to reopen to stay in business and access necessary personal protective equipment and other services to reopen safely. Sun Life has encouraged all employees to embrace more flexibility while managing the unique work/life balance created by the pandemic. Then as summer approached, the company realized that employees with young children would be especially stressed with the absence of many summer camps and daycare.
“Throughout this difficult time our employees have continued to serve our clients in amazing fashion despite the added stressors of no school or daycare,” said David Healy, senior vice president of Group Benefits Sun Life U.S., and a member of Boston Children’s Museum board of directors. “Employee mental health and wellbeing is just as important to us as physical health, and we hope that our employees and their kids will be able to enjoy summer at home more with these activities.”
Explore It has learning modules for children ages approximately four to ten and focuses on six themes: In the Wild, In Your Imagination, In Outer Space, In Construction, In the Water, and In the Human Body. Each week children can access the new modules at any time that is convenient for them throughout the summer and even later if kids want to do the activities again.
Children will have the opportunity to do hands-on activities and to stretch their creativity through multiple forms of expression. Kids will make stuff, practice observing and asking questions, and use both materials from around the house and materials they have never seen before. They will make things they are proud of and surprised by, do things that are truly silly, and discover new things.
The Museum will draw on many tried-and-true resources they have already created and will also develop new resources especially for the virtual summer experience. These new resources will be important for both caregivers and children, making for a cohesive and memorable experience.