The Indianapolis Museum of Art and St. Mary's Child Center say a unique collaboration will give children and their families opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have. The organizations announced in April what they say is the first encyclopedic art museum preschool in the country. The 180-day program will begin in August. The IMA calls the program a unique opportunity for preschool students to “feel a sense of ownership in a museum.” Sherman says the students' families will all have a membership to the IMA.

“St. Mary's Child Center is delighted to partner with the Indianapolis Museum of Art. It is so important that children have the experiences made possible by the IMA because the arts are a symbolic language that allows the child to express his/her understandings. The IMA's gift of memberships and access to the grounds and buildings of the IMA engages the whole family,” Sherman said.

The museum says the preschool will be offered to three to five year-olds and will follow the same schedule as Indianapolis Public Schools. IMA says there will be room for 16 students in the pilot program for the 2015-2016 school year. Yearly tuition is $5,170 per student.

“We are extremely excited to be partnering with St. Mary's Child Center to offer a preschool at the IMA starting this fall,” said Heidi Davis-Soylu, manager of academic engagement and learning research at the IMA. “The embedded nature of the preschool classroom within the Museum will offer a unique opportunity for 16 early learners to experience the largest visual arts institution in the state as their classroom. This program is a great way for the IMA to build our in-depth programming where we can reach students on a really significant level,”Davis-Soylu said.

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