An illuminating experience

Kiwanis of Carefree participated in a Lowell Observatory science demonstration as part of the June 13, 2018 Education & Community Services (ECS) presentation on the Lowell Observatory Curriculum for Kids (LOCKs), an innovative hands-on science program offered by ECS Child’s Play Preschool at Horseshoe Trails Elementary School (Phoenix) in the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD). ECS LOCKs will receive $4,000 from Kiwanis of Carefree for 2018 – 2019.

After explaining the concept behind LOCKs, ECS Child’s Play Preschool Teacher Kathy
Grandprey handed out small batteries connected to intriguing wires and challenged Kiwanis
members to figure out a way to light up a tiny light bulb. Judging from the smiles and laughter, the experiment was successful in entertaining everyone while shining light on how preschool students learn from the types of experiments provided for the program by Lowell Observatory.

“Kiwanis of Carefree have been so generous in supporting our preschool programs,” Gina
Durbin, ECS Director said in thanking the organization. “Assisting with the supplies needed for the LOCKs program will ensure continuity of a valued program that brings STEM education and interests to our littlest students.”

Preschool students in classes using the ECS LOCKs program perform scientific testing (investigating and modeling), conducting experiments and guided investigations in life, physical, Earth and space sciences with their teachers’ close guidance and supervision. Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff provides all the required material to perform the scientific investigations and experiments.

“This science program is excellent for catching kids at a really young age. A spark of interest at that age; you never know what it will grow into! It could be in any direction, it doesn’t necessarily have to be astronomy. It could be astrophysics, chemistry, physics, engineering … the possibilities are limitless,” commented Bruce Kosaveach, Lowell Observatory Philanthropy Manager, who was a guest speaker along with Jenny Stahl, ECS Preschool Coordinator.

“We’re very proud of the LOCKs program, beginning with Pre-K, growing into Kindergarten and onward,” said Kosaveach, sharing Lowell Observatory’s goal to expand LOCKs into all grade levels. LOCKs will soon be offered in Kindergarten at Annunciation Catholic School (Cave Creek).

“The Carefree Kiwanis Club is pleased to announce that we will be funding the Lowell Observatory LOCKs program for younger children at both the Annunciation School and the CCUSD ECS program for the 2018 – 2019 school year,” said John Skarda on behalf of the organization. Annunciation Catholic School Principal Dr. Sharon Pristash and Kindergarten Teacher Maryann Gramlich will be presented with a $4,000 check for the Kindergarten LOCKs program during the Kiwanis of Carefree meeting on June 27, 2018.

This is the first year that Kiwanis of Carefree has awarded funds to LOCKs. The LOCKs classroom program was introduced at ECS during the 2015-2016 school year. “One of our community members, Tom Ensign who has worked in various positions within the scientific field, brought this opportunity to ECS,” explained Durbin. The LOCKs program, now entering its fourth year, is a weekly part of the ECS Child’s Play Preschool curriculum at HTES.

For more information on ECS Child’s Play Preschool and ECS LOCKs, please visit or contact Jenny Stahl at To learn more about Kiwanis of Carefree, visit Information on Lowell Observatory is available at For additional information on both Lowell Observatory Camps for Kids and Lowell Observatory Curriculum for Kids (LOCKs), contact Lowell Education Coordinator Kelly Ferguson at or visit

Cave Creek Unified School District

With over thirty years of year-round enrichment programming experience, Education and Community Services (ECS), a department of the Cave Creek Unified School District (CCUSD), provides quality, affordable courses, workshops and camps that meet student needs and interests. Classes are taught by CCUSD teachers, members of local nonprofit arts organizations, and outside vendors selected for their rigorous and creative instruction. For details, visit

Lowell Observatory

“Expanding Our Universe,” Lowell Observatory is an independent, non-profit research institution in Flagstaff, the world’s first International Dark-Sky City. Its mission is to pursue the study of astronomy, especially the study of our solar system and its evolution, to conduct pure research in astronomical phenomena, and to maintain quality public education and outreach programs to bring the results of astronomical research to the general public. Lowell Observatory was founded in 1894 by Percival Lowell. Lowell astronomers have discovered Pluto, collected the first evidence of the expanding Universe, and measured the motions and properties of stars, among many other achievements. For additional information, visit or contact Molly Baker, Communications Manager, Lowell Observatory at