Smithsonian Early Explorers

The Smithsonian Early Explorer (SEE) program builds on 25 years of experience Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) educators have in using museums and community resources to enrich the lives of young children and provide a positive foundation for life-long learning experiences.

COVID-19 Update:

The Smithsonian Early Explorer Program remains closed and we are not currently accepting applications for the fall of 2021. To be placed on an interested participant list for the part-time program, please email  Information about the full-time school and the full-time initial enrollment application.

Basic Information

  • The Smithsonian Early Explorers (SEE) and is a program of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC).
  • Classes meet twice a week from 9:30 – 11:30 at the Smithsonian Institutions and each class involves museum visit.
  • When joining the SEE program, children must be at least 18 months. And children must be younger than 36 months in September of the year that they join. Once part of the program, children may continue to participate past the age of three.
  • Classes include caregiver and child.
  • Classes meet from September – June.


The year will be broken up into smaller sections during which children will explore a book. This book will be the inspiration for the play and museum visits that occur during the class. Embedded in these experiences are opportunities for the children to work on important developmental skills that are essential to any early childhood classroom. Our approach also supports the child as an individual, encouraging their interests and curiosity. All this is done within the framework of community and museum visits. We believe these visits give young children strong concrete connections that enhance their learning. The content areas to which the children are exposed are as varied as the Smithsonian collections – science, technology, engineering, math, art, culture, and history.

Our program also focuses on the caretakers and hopes to build a community in which families feel supported. Through everyday interactions, conferences, and resources, our educators help caregivers better understand their child’s development and support them in being their child’s first teacher.

We ultimately hope to instill a love of learning and a sense of wonder in both the child and adult.

Enrollment & Tuition

2019 – 2020 Tuition Rates

  • $714/month
  • Smithsonian Employees and siblings that are concurrently enrolled receive a 20% discount.
  • 6-weeks notice prior to leaving the program entitles participants a return of their $714 deposit.
  • Deposits are applied to the final month of tuition.

SEE 2019 – 2020 cohort is currently full. To be placed on our waitlist or to inquire about the 2020 – 2021 academic year, please email 

The Learning Environment

Classes meet in ArtLab+ at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and in Wegman’s Wonderplace & Spark!Lab at the National Museum of American History. Regular trips out of the classroom are integral to the SEE curriculum. Children learn about their world through frequent excursions beyond the classroom into the Smithsonian Institution, as well as into the greater community. Parents/Caregivers should plan on spending time in spaces outside of the classroom spaces and should dress their child accordingly.

2019 – 2020 Academic Year

  • SEE begins Monday, September 9, 2019 and concludes Tuesday, June 2, 2020.
  • Monday, June 8, 2020 and Tuesday, June 9, 2020 will be reserved for makeup days.
  • Holidays & Closings

Daily Schedule

Classes meet from 9:30 – 11:30 am

  • Learning Centers
  • Morning Meeting
  • Museum Visit

Caregiver Role

Parents or caregivers must participate in all aspects of the child’s experience and are required to participate in museum and community visits. Cell phone use is restricted to emergency calls and use as a camera.


Lead Educator: Meredith Osbornemo

Meredith Osborne has been with SEEC since 2013. She began working as a lead infant teacher and then worked as a lead toddler teacher. Meredith is originally from Cleveland Heights, Ohio and came to Washington, DC to study Museum Education at the George Washington University where she received a Master of Arts in Teaching. She has worked with a variety of audiences including adults, children, and infants. She has taught Reggio Emilia inspired parent/child classes and adult literacy courses. Meredith has a variety of museum experiences. She worked as a museum education with the Children’s Museum of Cleveland. She was an intern at the National Air and Space Museum creating a Time and Navigation Family Day and at the Supreme Court of the United States where she worked under the curator and assisted the court photographer.

Children with Special Needs

The Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center welcomes children with diverse needs and seeks to support their growth through personalized interactions and collaboration with parents and external educational experts.

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