Friday, April 26, 2013

Every Child Ready to Read Comes Alive at DCM

A teacher reads during a field trip to DCM
Early literacy begins with you! Early educators, parents and caregivers alike have a unique opportunity to connect with children and encourage the very skills that will help children get ready to read.  Even Play Facilitators, right here at DCM, enhance early literacy learning experiences for our visitors each and every day!  This message was shared by Early Literacy Librarian with the Naperville Public Library Karen Burke during a presentation given to DCM staff this week. 

Burke provided information and resources on Every Child Ready to Read, a project of the Public Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children, divisions of the American Library Association, and is supported by many public libraries throughout the United States. 

Every Child Ready to Read offers six pre-reading skills that children can start learning from birth:
Narrative Skills           
Being able to describe things and events and tell stories
Knowing the name of things
Print Motivation
Being interested in and enjoying books
Phonological Awareness
Being able to hear and play with the smaller sounds in words
Print Awareness
Noticing print, knowing how to handle a book and knowing how to follow the words on a page
Letter Knowledge
Knowing letters are different from each other, knowing their names and sounds and recognizing letters everywhere.

A visit to DCM can enhance the skills promoted through Every Child Ready to Read! Exhibits invite children to narrate and increase vocabulary; books are available throughout the Museum to enhance print awareness and story times in the Family Resource Center offer adventures in phonological awareness, print motivation and letter knowledge. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Truth about Cleaning Up!

What is the truth about getting children to clean up after playing?  Really, there are at least two truths to consider: It takes a long time for children to learn to clean up on their own, and it is worth it!

Teaching children that “putting away is part of play” has many benefits.  Cleaning up can:
            -Help children to value the needs of others.
            -Teach respect for materials.
-Assure children they are seen as competent people, capable of joining you in real work.
-Encourage a sense of organization.
            -Teach matching and classifying.
            -Strengthen color, shape and size vocabulary.
            -Support understanding of part-to-whole relationships.
-Facilitate awareness that experiences that have a beginning, middle and end.

Although getting children to clean up may feel like a struggle, the following ideas may help:
-Help them anticipate. After we put this away, we can play another game.
-Work together. Children learn when you play with them and when you work with them.
-Make specific requests. Help me put the puzzle away. If there is no choice, try not to give them a reason to say No!
-Make a plan and break clean-up into smaller, manageable pieces. Start by putting the balls into the basket.
-Offer choices. I will put the blocks away. Would you like to put the smaller ones on the shelf or into the basket?

As you work on developing clean-up skills together, remember that younger children will be less developmentally able to pick up for an extended period.  Keep it up though—over time this skill can develop and will have benefits for years to come!

The Truth about Cleaning Up is a part of DuPage Children’s Museum’s Just for Grown Ups series and is also published in Positively Napervillea printed guide of community events, volunteer opportunities and local lore. The publication is distributed to 35,000 homeowners by the first of every month.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Join us for this important week of celebrating young children!

Record Reading Event,  One Book….One Week…One Goal!
The goal is to promote literacy by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to as many children as possible during the Week of the Young Child.  DCM will join the effort spearheaded by the DuPage/Kane Child Care Resource and Referral.  Look for readings at the Museum all week!

April 13, 2013     City of Aurora WOYC Kick-Off Event
Prisco Community Center, 150 W. Illinois Ave., Aurora                         
Aurora celebrates the Week of the Young Child with an event for the whole family—grandparents, caregivers and teachers too! Entertainment, children’s activities, resources for parents and much more! No registration required.

April 16, 2013      Early Childhood Advocacy Day-Springfield
Speak directly with legislators about early learning. Learn about current legislative and budget issues affecting early childhood programs, including Preschool for All, home visiting and child care. The Ounce, a child advocacy organization, will provide you with everything you need to speak to your legislators, including training, talking points and lunch. Register with the Ounce of Prevention.
April 17, 2013     Child Care Provider Open House
DuPage Children’s Museum, 301 N. Washington, Naperville               
Child care providers are invited for an evening that celebrates your contribution to enriching the lives of young children.  Join us for hors d’oeuvres and  an engaging presentation shared by Chip Donohue, Ph. D, Dean of Distance Learning, Continuing Education Center; and Director of Technology in Early Childhood, TEC Center at Erikson Institute. Child care providers only.

April 20, 2013     Children’s Concert, Jeanie B! and the Jelly Beans
Marquart Middle School Commons, 1912 Glen Ellyn Rd, Glendale Heights
Bring your own picnic-style seating, blankets or mats, to a mixture of bluegrass country, blues and enough rock ‘n’ roll to keep everyone dancing! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Creativity Studio & the Element of Surprise

Over the past several months I have been reminded of the pleasure of surprise in the process of making art. This past week in the Creativity Studio we introduced visitors to the silkscreen process. We provided simple screens, foam brushes and washable paint. Having made the screens using silk organza glued to inexpensive wood picture frames, we added mod podge (a gel medium) to create simple images. Children could choose which screen they wanted to print and then apply paint to the screen using foam brushes. Our youngest visitors surprised me by being much more interested in the tactile quality of the foam brush than in reproducing the image on the screen. They bent and watched the paint ooze from the brush, used the tip and side and sometimes the handle to make a variety of marks.

Pastel-La, Collaborative Art at DCM

This past winter we introduced papier mache to visitors and built a large- scale sculpture. Our exhibits staff selected odds and ends from the workshop and put together an armature on which we could build.  Over two weeks and with the participation of over a thousand visitors, we created a work of art—not one that we would have expected. Rather our organic art making process and hundreds of artists continuously making decisions about form, color and texture resulted in a surprise.

This is a common occurrence in the Studio. As educators we have specific themes and concepts we are introducing, and our students/visitors take us on an unexpected journey and teach us new ways that the materials can be used. The Art Studio at DCM offers facilitated drop-in programs every day. The themes of these programs, materials used and concepts change weekly. Join us!

This article is brought to you by Rachel Davis, a Program Developer in the Creativity Studio at DCM. Rachel holds a Master of Fine Arts in Printmaking and worked for many years facilitating, developing and designing exhibits and programs at Madison Children's Museum in Wisconsin.