About The LAB

What is it: The LAB @ SMWV is an educational program designed to help students achieve academic success this school year. An alternative to virtual learning, The LAB is a day-time learning program that combines the structure and academic support of a classroom with the hands-on, discovery experience of a Lab. Our LABRooms make learning fun and give children and families the support they need to tackle virtual schoolwork assignments across all academic areas.

Who: Students grades K-7.

When: We’re offering School Day (9am-3pm) and Full Day (9am-5pm) options, Monday through Friday, with lots of weekday flexibility. The LAB will commence programming on Monday August 24th, with the option of starting Monday, August 31st depending on your family’s needs.

The health and safety of our learners, staff and community is our top priority. We have put together a comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation plan to create the safest possible environment. We will continue to evolve the plan as more information becomes available.

The LAB commitment

The LAB provides a structured environment that allows your child to work through virtual school assignments, attend virtual school classes, and receive assistance from trained educators when needed.

Activities that demonstrate fundamental STEAM concepts that support current SOLs will be delivered to by museum educators and external guest organizations so your child continues to receive active learning opportunities.

At the end of each week, you will receive a personalized report that summarizes what your child achieved, what challenges they overcame, and the areas we can offer them additional support.

Your child’s safety is our highest priority. They will be placed into a designated pod which will consist of the same students and educator/s throughout the week. While social distancing and safety measures will be enforced, an environment with collaborative learning and encouragement from peers is created.

Program structure

K-7 is a critical point in a child’s education. It’s a time when children are learning fundamental reading, math and cognitive skills that build a foundation for lifelong learning. Additionally, it’s a time when exposing a child to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) disciplines can be an essential step towards building their fluency in these fields for the future.

The LAB aims to help students reach their unique potential for academic success during this important time. Here’s what makes our program special:

Trained educators: Every LABRoom has a dedicated teaching professional. Our educators work with learners to comprehend and complete their virtual schoolwork assignments, lead captivating STEAM enrichment and communicate regularly with parents. Two educators will be assigned to every cohort to reduce exposure while providing high-quality academic support.

Scheduled Schoolwork Time: We’ve blocked out time each day for learners to tackle their virtual schoolwork or other independent studies. Our educators are committed to supporting your child in their successful completion of their schoolwork.

Engaging Enrichments: Throughout the day your child will participate in a variety of enrichment activities carefully selected to build STEAM fluency and aid in social, emotional, physical and cognitive development for a holistic learning experience.

STEAM Enrichment:

Astronomy &  Physics 
Biology (Mini Med School)
Robotics & Computer Science & Self Driving Cars (Zumi)
Geology & Earth Science
Wind/Solar Renewable Energy Engineering – KidWind 
Organic Farming & Food Science
Urban Planning 
Structural Engineering & Building
3D Printing & Design

Special Enrichment:

Global Studies
Musical Engineering
Theater (in collaboration with Mill Mountain Theatre)
Art (painting, sculpture, design) 
Book Club
Food Chemistry
Creative Writing

Our Educational Philosophy:

We empower the curious minds of students to learn through experimentation and play, creating an environment that emphasizes collaboration, asking questions and seeking answers, respecting ourselves and each other, and viewing failure as necessary step in the path to success.

Packages & Fees

The LAB is designed to build relationships between students and educators so that your child receives tailored and on-going academic support. The LAB is broken down into 4-week terms. Learners must attend The LAB at least 2 days a week and enrollment is automatically renewed unless notified 10-days prior to the start of the next term.

K-1st Program

Membership level



School-Day (9am-3pm)



Full-Day (9am-5pm)



2nd-7th Program

Membership level



School-Day (9am-3pm)



Full-Day (9am-5pm)



* Member discounts only available with a Tornado or Solar System membership plan

One-time fees

Non-refundable registration fee: $45 per child

Enrollment Opportunities

You may now register your child(ren) for the next 9-week term at The LAB. Spaces are extremely limited so please fill out the form below and we will be in contact with you regarding availability. 

Specifications for enrollment:

  • Students must be in Kindergarten through 7th Grade in the 2020/2021 academic year.
  • A non-refundable $45 registration fee per child will be applied. No additional registration fees will be required in the enrollment process. However, program fees will apply at the time of enrollment.
  • Students must be able to provide a laptop/tablet to access school assignments.
  • Students must be enrolled for at least 4 weeks at minimum, and be able to commit to 2-5 days attendance each week. This is important because it reduces COVID-19 exposure and enables a more personalized approach to your child’s enrichment experience.

COVID-19 Mitigation Plan Highlights

The safety of our students and staff is our top priority. We’ve developed a comprehensive COVID-19 mitigation plan to adhere to all federal state and local government policies and guidelines. This plan will be regularly reviewed and adapted throughout the course of the academic year. If you have any questions, please contact our COVID Response Coordinator, Mae Early Wilmer, at mwilmer@smwv.org or 540.342.5718.

Museum Closed to the Public

While The LAB is in operation, the museum will be closed to the public so that we can dedicate our entire space and educational efforts to learners attending The LAB. This decision has been made to limit all possible outside exposure while learners are in our care.

Masks & Social Distancing

Learners 3rd-7th Grade and educators will be required to wear masks at all times, unless eating or drinking. Learners will be spaced 3-6ft from other students, and social distancing will be enforced during enrichment activities.

The LAB Cohort Structure

Learners enrolled at The LAB will be placed in a specified cohort with 10-15 other learners, depending on the size of the LABRoom, and 2 designated educators. These will be the only other people your child will come in to contact with each 4-week term. Our enrollment structure is designed to reduce COVID-19 exposure as well as enable a more personalized approach to your child’s enrichment experience.

Daily Cleaning Regime

All museum exhibits, spaces and LABRooms will be thoroughly sterilized regularly throughout the day. Learners will also engage in hygiene practices throughout the day, such as hand washing and use of hand sanitizer. 

Daily COVID Check & Symptom Screen

Before the start of each day, learners and educators will have their temperatures checked with a touch-less thermometer, and fill out a symptom screen form to confirm they have not exhibited any COVID-19-related symptoms in the past 24hrs. If a learner or educator does not pass our screening criteria, they will be required to return home and will need to be cleared by a medical professional before returning to The LAB.

Contact Us

If you have any questions regarding The LAB, please contact us at thelab@smwv.org or 540.342.5710.

Frequently asked questions

Students will be dropped off and picked-up at a designated time on Market St. This information will be communicated to you following enrollment and designed to remove the need to pay for parking and drop-off/pick-up from the museum.

Throughout the day, you child will take part in activities in a full range of subjects. These include – but are not limited to – music class, Spanish, literature, yoga and art! We will also deliver high-quality STEM enrichment activities that are designed to teach current SOLs.

Our educators are trained to offer academic support in all subjects.

They will need to bring a laptop/tablet to access their schoolwork, headphones, a notebook if desired, lunch and snacks, and a mask for learners 3rd grade and up. To reduce cross-exposure, we ask that learners bring their own pens/pencils, crayons, pencil sharpener, glue and an eraser.

Yes, there will be a first-come-first-serve waiting list. We will notify you when an enrollment space becomes available.