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You gaze into your infant's eyes . . . and you see the infinite possibilities behind those eyes. It is pretty awe-inspiring, isn't it?
All infants are born ready to learn. The Children's Museum partnered with Harvard, MIT and the Boston Museum of Science along with the National Science Foundation to conduct a study about early childhood learning. We discovered that infants and toddlers learn concepts and behaviors significantly earlier than what was once thought. Research showed that young children's brains develop more rapidly between birth and age five than during any other subsequent period – cultivating 85% of their intellect, personality and skills by age five.
It's clear that early experiences matter. From good prenatal health care and nutrition through developmentally appropriate experiences and an abundance of oral language, the young brain quickly forms as a learner. We see that young children have an incredible capacity to observe, explore, wonder, experiment and play. And we need to provide opportunities for them to do so.
At The Children's Museum, we recognize how a well-planned stimulating environment can dramatically contribute to developing those foundations of learning. For young children, this is done primarily through play, which is one of the reasons we created Playscape, a newly redesigned early childhood gallery for children five and under. In this new exhibit, there are areas (or "worlds") with elements of art, music, nature, cause and effect, construction and sensory play.
Through hands-on and engaging environments, our new research also shows that children retain information longer if they experience and learn together with a significant adult in their life - like a parent, caregiver or grandparent. While supporting a child's natural curiosity and development, we are helping optimize his learning. It may look like play, but it is the important work of young children. And you have the awesome responsibility of having fun with your child while they are doing their important work!
Playscape opens August 31, 2013 at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis. In our redesign, we listened to what our visitors wanted and we are happy to report there will be two family restrooms inside the exhibit space, a diaper changing station and a Mothers' Room with private nursing areas complete with comfortable chairs, a changing table and hot water for formula.
Come join us at the new Playscape later this month!
Preschool Program Manager at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis