With the attention currently being given to the inclusion of play and recess time for elementary school children, it’s essential that we study how this time affects the capacity of young students to absorb their educational experience.
At the Miami Children’s Museum, we have found strong results that show that even at an earlier age this component is an important part of the learning process and helps to stimulate a child’s creativity.
For a child, play is the vehicle for exploring and learning, developing new skills, and connecting with others. Through self-directed play, children can follow their interests, explore the unknown, link outcomes with choices, conquer their fears and make friends. Programs such as MCM’s Early Childhood Institute (ECI) bring the creative power and joy of play into a quality learning environment.
Play allows children to explore and enhance learning. Play-filled experiences capture and enrich the spirit and help develop skills that serve as a foundation for life-long success, including critical thinking, communication and problem solving referred to as 21st-century skills.
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Learning is a continuous process. Active participation is the foundation for acquired skills, behaviors and knowledge that programs must foster in all children. Effective teaching practices that are intentional and focused build on cultural backgrounds. MCM offers programs and classes and learning materials related to the arts, culture and communication.
Miami Children’s Museum is dedicated to enriching the lives of all children by fostering a love of learning and enabling children to realize their highest potential. Through arts and educational programs, MCM seeks to include and target all audiences in Miami’s changing and diverse community by becoming the “town center” for Miami-Dade’s children and families.
Deborah Spiegelman, executive director/CEO, Miami Children’s Museum, Miami