Perched on a secluded ridge, the Talcott Mountain Science Center gives young people the opportunity for hands-on learning in modern science.
The Talcott Mountain Academy, located within the campus of the science center, is Connecticut’s premier independent school for K-8 gifted and talented students. With small student-to-teacher ratios, the school incorporates a full spectrum of liberal and fine arts classes into its traditional STEM-based program (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) for a well-rounded curriculum.
The Center’s Executive Director, Jeff Martin, told us, ”We were STEM before STEM was a thing. From the beginning, we moved away from treating science as an academic exercise, and our approach has always been that engagement comes first. Now that the equation has become STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math.) We want to be equally intentional about weaving arts and science together.”
For more than 50 years, Talcott Mountain Science Center has focused on its hands-on approach for an innovative and integrated educational experience.
The Science Center offers a wide variety of programs and services for the community. The 20-acre, mostly wooded campus lends itself to three-season exploration of the local geology and ecology for students, clubs or scouting field trips. Each year the campus does a one-day Bio-Blitz in which participants go out on the property and identify as many species of flora and fauna as they can to see what changes are happening in the campus habitat year after year.
Perfect for stargazing, the Center’s high ridgetop setting offers no obstructions to the night sky's view, a full range of high-powered professional telescopes and the largest teaching planetarium in the state. Expert astronomers guide viewers through an exploration of the universe. Martin explained, “We want families to engage with us in significant ways, and what better way than a Friday night of stargazing?”
Other TMSC programs include Outreach and In-School Programs, where the center brings dynamic science activities to area classrooms. Spectacular Saturdays provide discovery, exploration and research in fields including robotics, green energy, weather, 3D printing, ecology, geology, coding, astronomy and more.
Vacation programs in April and December enrich the student while school is out with fun programs and small groups. ”Our Summer Program serves close to 700 students over the course of the summer,” Martin told us. ”We offer unique looks at science through subjects like Kitchen Chemistry and the Science of Magic, plus more focused programs like Robotics and Camp Invention.”
The center and academy are closely connected to the overall community and have an open-door culture, as well as a myriad of ways to communicate when it comes to being available to parents, students and community members.
“We continue to be a resource for families throughout the region. There is no single way to engage with us; there are multiple ways. That is what makes us really unique and really special. We want folks to interact with us in whatever way is meaningful for them.”
Talcott Mountain Science Center & Academy
324 Montevideo Road, Avon
On Facebook: @TalcottScience
”We offer unique looks at science through subjects like Kitchen Chemistry and the Science of Magic, plus more focused programs like Robotics and Camp Invention.” - Executive Director Jeff Martin.