Ontario Science Centre puts its Eyes on the Skies

Canadian Astronaut Jeremy Hansen recruited to launch Eyes on the Skies, a new planetarium program for toddlers

TORONTO, May 31, 2011 /CNW/ - The Ontario Science Centre sparks curiosity about the night sky in a new generation. Canadian Space Agency Astronaut Jeremy Hansen, one of the Agency's newest astronauts, brings pre-schoolers on a virtual voyage through the universe with the Ontario Science Centre's new Eyes on the Skies planetarium program. This new program will introduce young children to the night-time sky through songs, connect-the-stars constellations and a journey to the moon.

Designed for children under the age of five, this one-of-a-kind lively program introduces children to the nighttime sky in an upbeat, friendly manner. Researcher/Programmer in Astronomy & Space Sciences Sara Poirier along with members of the Science Centre team who have early childhood education training worked together to create Eyes on the Skies.

"Our goal is to create a positive experience within a nighttime environment so young children become curious about the night sky, our planet and its neighbours," said Sara Poirier. We hope the program inspires children and their caregivers to look up at the night sky together."

Eyes on the Skies follows a simple narrative that begins with the kids in the city at sunset, transports them to a nighttime country sky, and then blasts off from earth for a trip to the moon, returning home in time to watch the sun rise. Unlike typical planetarium experiences, talking and moving around are encouraged, not discouraged. Throughout the experience, the presenter literally gets on the ground with the children, singing songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and the Zoom Zoom song, an action-based children's song about taking a rocket to the moon. The constellations are displayed with participants suggesting new interpretations including Leo as a mouse and the Big Dipper as a kite. To help little ones who may succumb to fright, Eyes on the Skies uses 'Co-Pilot Moonie' a stuffed glow-worm who can be passed around if needed.

Eyes on the Skies is offered in the CA Technologies Planetarium on Level 4 and is free with admission to the Science Centre. The show is presented daily on weekdays, subject to availability of the Planetarium; visitors are invited to check the Science Centre's daily schedule upon arrival. On weekends, the show is presented daily at 10:30 a.m. Eyes on the Skies lasts no more than 20 minutes to accommodate wandering minds and little feet. Space is limited to a first-come-first-served basis and times may vary.

"Eyes on the Skies is just one of the new initiatives that the Ontario Science Centre is introducing for younger children," says Lesley Lewis, CEO. "In fact, KidSpark is a space specially designed for kids aged eight and under to enjoy with their parents or caregivers. Since it opened in the fall of 2003, KidSpark has proved so popular that visitors asked for more. We responded and children can now enjoy twice as many KidSpark experiences as were in the original area." It is important to note that adults must be accompanied by a child in KidSpark and during busy periods there may be a line up to enter.

About the Ontario Science Centre
The Ontario Science Centre opened on September 26, 1969, pioneering the concept of an interactive science museum. Since then, well over 40 million visitors have passed through its doors. It is a model for over a thousand science centres around the world that have been built since its inception.

The Ontario Science Centre uses science as the lens to inspire and actively engage people in new ways of seeing, understanding and thinking about themselves and the world around them. The Ontario Science Centre is an agency of the Government of Ontario. Please visit us at www.ontariosciencecentre.ca.

SOURCE Ontario Science Centre

For further information:

Media contacts:
Christine Crosbie, Media Relations Officer 
Ontario Science Centre
Cell: 416-895-5482
Jefferson Darrell, Media Relations Officer
Ontario Science Centre
Cell : 416-771-2614


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