Friday, March 28, 2014

10 Ways Your Baby Learns When You Sing with Them! Part I.

Bonding When you sing to your baby, she bonds with you and your voice. Singing makes yours the first and most important voice in her life. Your baby learns that you LOVE her!

Transitions Babies feel safe when life is predictable. A song for waking up, sleeping, and other routine transitions and activities helps them know what comes next.

Language Language is in itself musical, and when you sing and speak, your baby learns about words, language, and communication. Through your singing, baby's language comprehension begins.

New words While you sing and hold your baby, you introduce new vocabulary. When you hold up a stuffed dog as you sing about a dog, baby learns to associate the name of that toy with the words you sing. When you sing about parts of the body and kiss your baby's feet or tickle his tummy, he learns new words. 

Rhythm and rhyme Music includes rhythm and rhyme, again, part of language. In time, babies will recognize rhymes and rhythms. 

Infants, toddlers, and caregivers are encouraged to carry their own rhythm and tune with the instruments provided in our Creativity Young Explorers Neighborhood. Stop by the Museum's musical exhibits and stage your own performance during your next visit! 

Stay tuned! Five more ways your baby learns when you sing with them will be presented next week.
Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer are trailblazers in children's and family music. They play dozens of instruments from banjo and mandolin, to electric guitar, steel drum, and ukulele. Learn more about them online at

Original article from NAEYC for Families (National Association for the Education of Young Children)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Dispositions for Learning in Young Children

A disposition can be described as a habitual inclination or tendency. As it relates to learning, one might think about a child's inclination to learn or attitude toward learning. Lilian Katz, Ph.D., an international leader in early childhood education visited DCM in 2009. This column includes some of the valuable insight Katz shared regarding the impact dispositions toward learning can have on young children. 

Impact of Dispositions on Learning 
Katz defines dispositions as “habits of mind or habits of intention.” Katz states that dispositions are different than knowledge/understanding or skills and can have an impact on learning. The acquisition of knowledge and skills alone does not guarantee that they will be used and applied (Katz, 2009). Katz further describes that a child may acquire reading skills, yet if her disposition to read is damaged, reading may become an area of struggle. “Dispositions cannot be learned from instruction. Dispositions can become damaged by instruction if too early or formal,” says Katz.

Developing the Innate Dispositions That Support Learning – 
Curiosity, Creativity, and More
According to Katz, the younger the child, the more important it is to strengthen dispositions. She suggests that it is useful to distinguish between academic and intellectual dispositions. While academic means specific bits of information, intellectual points to the process behind thinking, reasoning, and understanding.

Intellectual dispositions include the desire to analyze, theorize, be curious, and be creative. To strengthen these dispositions, Katz suggests asking open-ended, thought-provoking questions, such as What do you want to find out? Why? and How do you...? In addition, adult modeling can play an important role. Katz states, “Many dispositions are learned from being around people who have observed dispositions and who make their dispositions observable.”

This article also published in Positively Naperville--a local, reader supported, monthly newspaper published in Naperville, Illinois. Positively Naperville has been supported by a great group of local businesses, organically growing four pages at a time since it was first printed issue in September 2001.

Friday, March 14, 2014

News from DCM's Creativity Studio

Chicago: Birth of the Skyscraper
Did you know that the first skyscraper was built right here in Chicago?  This week we took our inspiration from our very own architectural wonderland, Chicago!  Using a variety of materials ranging from large pieces of cardboard to corks, toothpicks, cups, bottle caps, paper rolls, and more, kids created large structures that developed into a city as well as model skyscrapers to take home.  We explored ideas of design and engineering as we experimented with different building techniques.  It was all open-ended and allowed for children to take the project anywhere they could imagine! We saw re-creations of actual buildings in Chicago as well as those found only in a child’s mind.  A favorite was the Toy Company Headquarters, complete with a flying saucer that brought toy ideas from outer space and a delivery truck that brought the toys to stores around town.
Guest Blogger Katie Fodor is a Program Developer at DuPage Children's Museum. Katie has an MA in Art History and Museum Studies from Case Western Reserve University. Katie joined DCM’s team in the summer of 2013. She brought with her experience in education and the museum field (Western Reserve Historical Society, the Akron Art Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art).

Friday, March 7, 2014

Finding the Science in Play

Humans are Born Curious

Science principles come into play while our children are very young - think about the last time you retrieved a spoon from the floor, only to have your infant toss it down again. This is cause and effect at work!  When the baby shakes a rattle, she makes the discovery that the rattle produces a sound. She shakes it again; the sound happens again. The infant is learning to make predictions, another scientific skill. While these games are not sophisticated science, they are the child's earliest introductions to learning in a scientific way.

Seize the Moment!
Science is more than a subject in school! When children discover why and how something works, they are behaving like scientists. Discovering science, exploring science and applying scientific principles can happen anywhere, including play opportunities in the exhibits and programs at DuPage Children's Museum.

Science at DuPage Children's Museum
Our job is to ensure that your child has many opportunities to explore and experiment through play in the exhibits and programs at DCM.

This child is discovering that the air coming through the tube has an effect on the scarf. The air is moving around the scarf so fast that the scarf stays partially inside the tube - a scientific principle known as the Bernoulli effect. When children make connections with air and wind through play, they often recall these connections when they learn about scientific principles later in school. Children (and adults) who play with this exhibit use ideas about air as starting points in constructing knowledge.

Water play can encourage children to ask questions...
What does water do? How can I change the flow of water? Curiosity leads to experimentation, which provokes even more curiosity to challenge a child's interest. At DCM children have two large water tables to explore in Water Ways.

In our Creativity Studio children explore art, math and science through facilitated, planned activities. This child is making paper. The process involves mixing ingredients and noticing an observable change. Experienced Play Facilitators guide the process by asking questions to help the child notice the change from pulp to paper.

These are just some of the science learning experiences at DCM. Ask us for more ideas during your next visit!