The Micronaut Program was developed by the University of Tennessee Chattanooga Challenger STEM Learning Center in 2005 to meet the needs of younger explorers. The Challenger Learning Center of San Antonio opened at Brooks City base in the fall of 2000, and expanded its programming to include Micronauts missions in 2006 making this early childhood STEAM program available through a partnership with the City of San Antonio Human Services Department. After the Brooks center closed, the city remained active with San Antonio College staff developing the Scobee Education Center and Micronauts were first made available through the city’s HeadStart programs in the spring 2015.
The Micronaut Program at the Scobee Education Center provides young children age 4 – 9 with an authentic STEAM experience as they travel through a simulated mission to the International Space Station. The mission models “Best Practices” in early childhood education that capitalizes on the young child’s natural curiosity to explore and learn about the world they are a part of. By making STEM education a focus of a child’s early education we begin to change the world one class at a time by instilling a lifelong passion to learn about and care for our planet earth. By inspiring and educating young children we contribute to our national goal of a scientifically literate society.
The Micronaut program consists of three components: Teacher Education, Parent Education and the immersive simulated space experience for young children. Prior to each mission, educators are provided with a day-long training program that introduces hands-on activities that may not be a part of the typical early childhood classroom. Each activity is aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) standards and best practices in early childhood education. In a separate program, parents are provided with science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) at-home activities that are designed to reinforce the activities provided to the teachers. Together, teachers, parents and students create a unit that culminates with the Micronaut experience.
The Micronauts mission begins the moment they enter the space, with teachers briefing student teams on their mission and launch preparation. The simulated launch experience sets the sky-high expectations for the mission as the young astronauts dock at the International Space Station and undergo decontamination before enter the laboratory environment in space. Under the direction of the “Mission Commander”, Micronauts proceed to one of a dozen workstations with parent and teacher volunteers to complete their research and launch an important satellite to study the Earth from Space. At the completion of their mission, the Micronaut crew returns safely to earth ready to challenge new horizons.
Micronauts programs for the PreK-K Micronaut missions will be held May 4-7 and May 10-14, 2021. If you are interested in registering your class for a Micronaut mission contact us at 210-486-0100 or via email at sac-ScobeeCtr@alamo.edu.
In 2020, San Antonio College began its revitalization project with the construction of a new multilevel parking complex and San Antonio College’s accredited Early Childhood Center. After improvement are made to San Pedro Avenue, the new garage and campus entry are expected to open early in 2021. Phase two of the project will include the nationally certified SAC Early Childhood Center and the initial development of the new Santikos MicronautTM Center. The new opening date for the Santikos Micronaut Center is March 2022.