The Georgia Children’s Museum strives to inspire children of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to discover the joy of life-long learning through hands on, interactive activities. GCM encourages thoughtful participation with other children and grown ups alike and teaches the principles of RISE (Respect, Include, Support and Encourage).
• To offer new types of educational models (i.e. schools, museums, art and performance groups) that reinforce the educational achievement of all children.
• To be a model institution committed to inclusiveness in all aspects of programming.
• To support parents, teachers and mentors in their efforts to help children to acquire cultural capital and valued social roles.
• To be a model for the advancement of service and learning in education through innovative linkages with formal and informal educational organizations.
• To remain on the cutting edge of interactive learning.
• To help stimulate and maintain an economic revitalization of down-town Macon, Ga
In 1985 the Governor’s Counsel on Developmental Disabilities of the State of Georgia issued a challenge to non-profits, in the form of seed grants, to create educational projects that insure that children with disabilities are given a chance to participate in the educational and cultural routines of their communities. Responding to the challenge, professionals with Mercer University created the Mid-State Children’s Challenge Projects, Inc. in 1987 (MCCP). It’s goal was to stimulate the development of additional educational programs that would include children with disabilities as full participants. Since that time, the MCCP created the First Street Arts Center, which now offers a Montessori-based nationally accredited (NECPA) program for pre-school children. It also created art and performance based after-school and summer camp programs that provide a full range of educational and family support services under one roof.
In operation since 1989, the First Street Arts Center is a model of inclusive education, bringing together children with and without disabilities in arts-rich educational environments. It has produced measurable results by increasing school-readiness for toddlers and improving the GPA of those in the after-school program. It is also a model of community organization combining private funds, the resources of Mercer University and volunteers from the federally-funded Americorps program who help staff its programs. With these abundant resources, the center presently serves over 100 students per day. Remaining faithful to the challenge and committed to its mission, the MCCP is now in the process of creating yet another dynamic project to bring the message of inclusion to a much broader audience, namely: The Georgia Children’s Museum.