Friday, August 29, 2014

DCM Closes for Annual Deep Cleaning

Each September DuPage Children's Museum closes its doors for an annual deep cleaning. This year is no different.  As of Monday, September 1, DCM has shut its doors for a cleaning that goes far beyond the daily cleaning of the windows, restrooms, tables, floors, exhibits, and manipulatives! We are scrubbing tiles and flooring. We are lifting, removing, and scrubbing rubber mats; wiping down each and every book; even cleaning the ceiling tiles and light fixtures!

Why do we do this? Keeping our visitors in mind, we strive to provide the best experiences possible! In addition to the cleaning, that includes moving new exhibits in and refurbishing our mainstays. 

Don't forget! As part of our ongoing partnership with Kohl Children's Museum in Glenview, Family PLUS and above level members receive free admission September 2 though September 14.  

We invite everyone to join us for an exciting re-opening on September 15The DCM School Bus will make a stop in the Museum's upper level September 15 - October 5, 2014. Take an imaginary ride for an exciting adventure in education, recess, and all things school-related!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Kindergarten Readiness & the S.T.E.M. Connection

Conference Supports Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education in Early Learning Programs
On July 19, early childhood professionals gathered at the Prisco Center in Aurora to engage in a panel discussion and presentations on preparing children for Kindergarten and the curricular connection to S.T.E.M. education initiatives.

Kindergarten Readiness and the S.T.E.M. Connection is one of four conferences planned as the culminating events for a S.T.E.M. Train-the-Trainer program initiated by the Department of Education and Outreach at DuPage Children's Museum.  

Participants interacted with a panel of professionals on S.T.E.M. education.The importance of S.T.E.M. concepts were discussed, as well as a need to continue to focus on non-cognitive skill development.  

Breakout sessions included presentations by S.T.E.M. Train-the-Trainer program participants:
Bringing S.T.E.M. into Light,
Linda Banek and Lu-Ann Tanton
S.T.E.M.-ergize Your Curriculum
Annelee Mascarella and Melissa McClelland
Super Spectacular S.T.E.M.,
Ian McCLeary and Deb Clark-Everly
S.T.E.M. and the Literature Connection
Kelly McCleary and Maliha Siddiqui

A second conference will take place in September at Joliet Junior College. Featured presentations will include:
Bringing S.T.E.M. into Light,
Linda Banek 
S.T.E.M. into Nature,
Kristi Walker and Audra Ohlson
Teaching S.T.E.M. Everyday,
Sandy Stitch and Nancy Kascyzca
Why S.T.E.M.? The Benefits in Child Care and Beyond,
Darlene Houston and Suzanne Schoff

A special thank you goes out to the funders of this program, IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Sciences) and PNC Bank; and to conference partners SPARK (Strong, Prepared and Ready for Kindergarten), the City of Aurora's early childhood collaboration, the YWCA Child Care Resource and Referral, and One Hope United.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Transition Time! Tips for Parents & Caregivers

School will soon be in session; fall schedules are ramping up. Now is the time to help your young ones adjust to all the new events that will be happening in their daily lives! Below you will find a few tips to help you through times when it just seems as though your children (and you!) have had enough of all the change that is taking place.

Talk, talk, and more talk
Talking about the changes that are taking place can help children of all ages cope. Although they may not respond right away or may not seem to understand at times, inviting the discussion opens the door to understanding and developing coping skills.  You might engage them in a conversation by sharing how you feel about the changes or asking questions that allow your child to express his or her feelings.

Sometimes it is all in the details
Helping children to understand what may or may not happen is no small task—especially if there are any unknown circumstances that could arise. Do your best to articulate details of the changes that are to take place without being overly wordy.

When things don’t go as we planned
Statements that express--sometimes things just do not go as we planned, yet we can adjust, can have a profound impact in helping children reduce or prevent stress. Simple statements like this can help children to develop resiliency skills! Remember, they watch our reactions.  Children take cues from us on how to respond to all situations—especially those that might cause stress. 

Whether it is a schedule change or a bigger life change, change is definitely consistent in our lives. When children work through transitions with a caring adult, it can make a big difference in how they adjust.

Jett, C. (2010). Teaching Children How to Adapt, Psych Central.
Kids Have Stress Too! Ideas, Tips, and Strategies for Parents,

Friday, August 8, 2014

Exhibit Focus: WaterWays

In everyday life, water spouts from faucets, drains from the tub, and rains from above—if you are a child, inevitably, it spills! Spills only add to the fun of the learning that takes place in DuPage Children’s Museum’s WaterWays Neighborhood. In WaterWays, visitors can capture, redirect, understand, and control water.  Experiences in WaterWays offer multiple approaches and myriad solutions—this is discovery learning at its best!

Exploration and Discovery in WaterWays
Water Wheels  The force of water changes when the pressure or rate of movement on it varies. Ladle water over the water wheel, and the wheel turns slowly. Squirt water at it, and something else happens!
Buoyancy  What sinks? What floats? Why?
Volume, Space, and Displacement  Water has volume.  Water takes up space. Pour water from a container into a container of a different size. What happens? Submerge an object and watch the water level rise!

Water Exploration and Discovery at Home
What is there to discover about water?
Water is transparentI can see through it, but how does it change the way objects look?
Water flowsWhat makes it move fast? How can I make it move at a slower pace?
Water has weightCan I lift a container of water when it is full? How heavy is a cup of water?
Water dissolves thingsWhat will happen if I add salt to warm water and stir? Where does the powdered drink mix go when I add it to my bottle of water?
Water can act as a filterWhat can I catch in my net as I run it through the water? What stays in? What does not? Why?
Water can be absorbedHow much water can I soak up with a sponge?  Submerge a sponge in water, lift, and squeeze into a cup! How much water were you able to absorb?

Excerpts taken from DuPage Children’s Musuem’s Exhibits: What and How, 2010 

Friday, August 1, 2014

News from the Creativity Studio

Sewing and Embroidery
The timeless art and skill of sewing filled the Creativity Studio!  Children were provided with a large selection of cut-down fabric, yarn, thread, needles, and a sewing machine and were able to learn a useful and creative skill.  Many children had never sewed before, and this was a great opportunity to learn the basics. Special skilled volunteers helped out every day to teach proper technique and assist older children on the sewing machine.  For our younger visitors we created a Sewing Table of burlap, yarn, and plastic needles, where they could master the initial “up-down” sewing motion while strengthening those very important fine motor muscles.  Children were extremely creative and created blankets for their dolls, purses, scarves, mini-pillows, embroidered patches, and much more! Although many children were initially intimidated by this activity, every child left the room with a project that they were proud of!  We always LOVE to hear, “I didn’t know I could do this!” in the DCM Creativity Studio

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.