Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota Witnesses Significant Increase in Access Memberships for Gateway to Play Program

    July 12th, 2023

    MANKATO, MN – The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota is steadfast in its commitment to providing every child with the opportunity to experience the joy of learning through the power of play. With the invaluable support of the Ignite Society and numerous community partners, the Museum has seen a significant rise in the demand for its Gateway to Play program.

    The Gateway to Play program has emerged as a vital initiative, catering to children and families facing various barriers that limit their access to enriching educational experiences. Recent statistics highlight the program’s impact:

    • A remarkable 30% of all Museum memberships are Gateway to Play memberships, demonstrating the program’s significance in serving children in need.
    • Startlingly, one in three Gateway to Play members reported an annual income of less than $24,999, emphasizing the program’s vital role in addressing economic disparities.
    • The program currently serves 806 Gateway to Play members, with a total value of $100,125 – a number that continues to rise.

    The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota understands the profound importance of supporting children and families facing barriers, recognizing that these challenges can encompass various factors such as income, language, cultural differences, abilities, special needs, or unique circumstances. The Museum is fully dedicated to addressing these barriers head-on to ensure that all children have equal access to the power of play.

    “The Gateway to Play program at the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota has been steadfast in our mission to provide inclusive and accessible learning experiences for all children. As a staff member, it fills my heart with joy to witness the positive impact this program has on families facing various barriers. The testimonials we receive from parents and caregivers highlight the profound difference the Museum has made in their lives, offering educational and life experiences that were previously out of reach. The Gateway to Play program is a testament to our commitment to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive and grow through play. I am incredibly proud to be a part of an organization that prioritizes equitable access and creates a welcoming space for all children in our community.” – Kim Kleven, Vice President of Play and Learning. The Gateway to Play program has garnered heartfelt testimonials from grateful families who have experienced its impact firsthand. Here are just a few examples:

    • Waseca, MN: “Being a single mother, I am unable to afford many activities outside the house. Winter/COVID restrictions have been difficult. The Museum will offer my children an amazing opportunity to safely play, learn, and be in a healthy, engaging atmosphere. We will be able to bond and play together as well.”
    • Sherburn, MN: “The Children’s Museum has helped my foster and adopted kids in many ways. They look forward to all the educational and life experiences they have here. Many of my kids have had very few experiences. This helps to fill the many gaps in learning the kids come to me with. Plus, it’s super fun!”
    • North Mankato, MN: “It’s not only helped my child grow in social interactive and cognitive skills, it’s helped my mental health, as a mother, to have somewhere to go and get out of the house.”

    The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota reiterates its unwavering commitment to ensuring that all children, regardless of their circumstances, have equal opportunities to play, learn, and thrive within the Museums Awe-inspiring environment.