early learning in museums

SEEC5

Students from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center explore shapes in a nearby sculpture garden.

In 2012, the Institute of Museum and Library Services hosted a series of meetings to inform the development of a groundbreaking report on the role of libraries and museums in early learning.  Among the advisors to those meetings were representatives from the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, a model school on the Smithsonian campus that combines the best practices in both early childhood and museum education. 

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama declared, “Study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road… I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America.”

Given the increased interest and discussion at all levels about the importance of early learning, the timing is prime for museums and libraries to articulate and advance their participation in this arena.  The IMLS report, to be released this month, will make the case for decision makers at the local, state, and federal levels to fully use the capacity of libraries and museums in their early learning efforts.  The role (both current and potential) that museums and libraries play in the effort to educate our youngest children is immense, powerful, and inspiring.

As the executive director of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, Dr. Kimberlee Kiehl is well-positioned to discuss how museums can take a leadership role in supporting early learning.  In her keynote talk at the Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference on June 12, Dr. Kiehl will focus on collaboration ideas between the Smithsonian and the Affiliate network, and how such partnerships can change the face of early learning in our country. 

Do you have ideas to share about what your organization is doing with young learners?

Do you have specific questions about integrating early learning into your museum?

Take a few minutes to let us know in this quick, 3-question poll, so we can make this session as useful and productive as possible!   http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5NF7PRY

 The Smithsonian Affiliations National Conference is for current Affiliates only. If you are interested in becoming an Affiliate, please contact Elizabeth Bugbee, 202.633.5304, for more information. Click here for 2013 Conference hotel information, agenda and registration.

 

 

 

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