Expanding the Classroom with EdExplore

Community Foundation


Children who take part in sensory engagement and creative thinking activities have a better chance of achieving greater academic success and becoming active and engaged members of the community. And with EdExploreSRQ’s web-based search platform, schooling transcends into experiential, hands-on learning activities throughout Sarasota. At its inception, the Community Foundation and the Patterson Foundation teamed up to ensure students’ access to EdExplore’s programs. Committing to $500,000 each, distributing $100,000 annually over the course of its first five years. They recently announced that they will both be committing another $500,000 each over its next five years. Debra Jacobs, President and CEO of The Patterson Foundation notes, “EdExploreSRQ was created with the aspiration that our students, regardless of background, would have access to the unique educational opportunities Sarasota has to offer. Through this latest contribution, The Patterson Foundation will strengthen EdExploreSRQ’s ability to provide these opportunities for future generations of students.”

The new annual contributions by the Community Foundation and the Patterson Foundation will be used to support current explorations, while also developing new ones– particularly for students from low-income households. Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation mentions, “Thanks to the world-class experiences we have in this region, our main objective is to ensure that arts and cultural learning lessons through EdExploreSRQ are open and accessible to all our school children.” The ongoing support enables endless intellectual and social development for students to unlock their continual growth. Educators at all grade levels are now able to not only expand and enrich their classrooms, but also increase student awareness to our community’s wonderful resources. Imagine your children coming face-to-face with a manatee on a boat serving as a floating classroom or learning how to sing like an opera star from the best of the best. EdExplore ultimately enhances and engages childrens' bandwidth to learn. Here's an overview of their programs–

In-school Explorations incorporate the culture of Sarasota and can take place in the gym, on the playground, or right in the classroom with professional visits to the class by the best teaching artists in their fields. Teaching artist residencies bring entrepreneurial writers, painters, dancers, math fanatics and others into the classroom to help shape students with the knowledge of their specific expertise. In-school Performances include plays, shows and nontraditional learning techniques created by professional performers. Students can experience the wonders of live theatre for the first time with help from local theatres, dance schools and artists by putting on their very own performances themselves. Off-campus Performances  involve traveling to attend live readings, concerts, theatre and dance performances held at renowned venues including the Van Wezel and Asolo Theatre. Off-campus Field Trips take the children to various parks, museums, labs and world-renowned research facilities to discover a wide variety of subjects such as art, history, wildlife, ecology and marine biology. Lastly, Online Virtual Conferences allow classes to explore the world, or even time travel, all while staying in the comfort of the classroom. These virtual endeavors include book readings, marine life explorations, a diving into the history of downtown with eco-friendly video games. Whether simply sparking a new area of interest or shaping a future career path, the result can be a life changing experience for our young, vibrant learners. Safe to say, this schooling style is something we can all get behind. 

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is proud to partner with SRQ Media Group to highlight stories about community impact powered by philanthropy in our region, thanks to the support of donors and our local nonprofit partners. The Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org.

Images provided by EdExploreSRQ

EdExplore SRQ

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