What Challenges Are Children/We Facing?

While Baltimore is a culturally rich and diverse city, it is among the largest and poorest cities in America with 34% of children living in poverty. Poor conditions and unsafe neighborhoods prevent children from having a place to play freely, interact openly, and engage with others in a safe environment.

Maryland has over 380 Title 1 Schools, with Baltimore City having over 135 of them. Students in Title I schools, many of whom contend with impoverished surroundings in their home lives, frequently struggle to meet national and state-wide standards in education and learning.

Since 1955, children’s free play time has been declining. With the removal of recess time from many schools and the implementation of highly structured schedules for children, many children are not given the opportunity to play freely.

How is Port Discovery Helping to Overcome These Challenges?
  • Our programs and exhibits are organized into five Key Learning initiatives that support the Maryland Model for School Readiness, Statewide Curriculum, and new Common Core Curriculum: Early Childhood, STEM Learning, Financial Literacy, Healthy Families/Healthy Communities, and Creative Arts and Culture.
  • Of our 265,000 annual visitors, 25% are from Baltimore City, 47% from Maryland counties outside Baltimore City, and 35,000 are school children on field trips, all of whom come at a reduced or free rate.
  • Our play-to-learn approach supports the formal curricula of our regional school system while simultaneously responding to the 21st century’s competitive environment, in which experiential learning is an important complement to the test-driven teaching that occurs in schools.
  • Through our outreach programs, we engage and offer support to underserved families and at-risk youth in the city.
  • Port Discovery’s main focus – early childhood learning – in recent studies has been shown to be critical to the economic growth and fiscal sustainability of the nation.
  • We were recognized as a “Good to Grow” museum by the Association of Children’s museums for combatting the childhood obesity crisis by promoting nutrition and active play.
  • Port Discovery is ranked among the 12 Best Children’s Museums in the U.S. by Forbes.com
  • We were recently awarded a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in support of our upcoming exhibit on agricultural learning, Here We Grow! Click here to learn more.
  • We are supported by our fantastic and enthusiastic Board of Directors (link to BOD page) and our Explorer’s Council (link), in addition to our advisory councils on Museum Education and Health!
To learn more, visit our News Room or download Port Discovery’s FY 13 Annual Report.

Wonders of Water