I've just returned from Chicago where, among other things, I had the great honor of working with the staff of the Chicago Children's Museum. What a treat! So much creative thinking under one roof. So much dedication to children and their needs.
First order of business was a one-hour tour, where I marveled at the many opportunities for play: dramatic play, constructive play, and active play! There was a climbing structure, in particular, that absolutely delighted me. It offered children everything a piece of climbing equipment should offer: full-body, but particularly upper torso, exercise; mental and physical challenge; and, when the climb was complete, an enormous feeling of accomplishment that left children exhilarated and wanting more!
Throughout the day, many staff members asked if I often work with children's museums. I was a bit embarrassed to admit that this was the first children's museum I'd even visited. While I accept that there's only so much one person can do, I also feel that this has been a tremendous oversight on my part. As a proponent of the concept of learning by doing, my philosophy is perfectly aligned with those of children's museums! So you can be sure I'll be checking them out, whenever possible, in the future and, if I'm fortunate enough, working with their staffs!
With play disappearing from the landscape of children's lives -- at home and at school -- I'm very grateful that some children, at least, have access to museums of their own. I hope they're all as fabulous as the Chicago Children's Museum!
P.S. CCM has a new exhibit opening on the 12th of this month. It's called Move! Check it out -- in person, if you can!