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What does a museum do with a kindergartener who walks through the door? The growth of interest in young children learning in museums has joined the national conversation on early childhood education. This is the first book for museum professionals that focuses on this intersection. Written by the founding Executive Director of the innovative Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, this concise volume provides essential guidance for museum professionals to plan programming for young children. Sharon E. Shaffer explains the various ways in which children learn, then shows how to use this knowledge to design effective programs using a variety of teaching models. Replete with examples of successful programs and tested activities to employ in your institution, Shaffer presents a set of best practices for developing early childhood learning programs.
What does a museum do with a kindergartner who walks through the door? The growth of interest in young children learning in museums has joined the national conversation on early childhood education. Written by Sharon Shaffer, the founding Executive Director of the innovative Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, this is the first book for museum professionals as well as students offering guidance on planning programming for young children.
This groundbreaking book: • Explains the various ways in which children learn • Shows how to use this knowledge to design effective programs using a variety of teaching models • Includes examples of successful programs, tested activities, and a set of best practices
Learn more about the book directly from author Sharon Shaffer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD7ls9cwYiA.
About the Author
Sharon E. Shaffer is currently a museum consultant specializing in providing programming to younger children. Previously, she served nearly twenty-five years as Executive Director of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center. She is the only educator ever to receive the Smithsonian Institution's Secretary’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Service. Shaffer regularly teaches workshop on educating young children through museums and has consulted on this topic both in the United States and abroad. She has a Ph.D. in education from University of Virginia and currently teaches graduate courses at UVA.
"Engaging Young Children in Museums puts museums alongside classrooms as places where the majesty of learning and the joy of discovery are joined, where minds are opened, the world is explored, and imagination brought to new heights by the marvels of the past and possibilities for the future. It delivers a rare blend of sound learning theory, proven teaching methodology, intriguing historical evolution and defining societal movements to affirm the place of the museum as an integral, inseparable component within the broad sweep of educational advance. This highly readable chronicle of the museum as teaching and learning institution should be required reading for all committed to improving society and the human condition though the acquisition of knowledge, shared experience and the limitless potential of the mind and spirit."
—Daniel J. Driscoll, University of Virginia
"I've long been a fan of Sharon Shaffer's intelligent and respectful approach to shaping museum experiences for our youngest audiences and their caregivers. The information in this book is surprising, wise and long overdue for the field." —Marjorie Schwarzer, co-director, Museum Studies Graduate Program, University of San Francisco
“Sharon Shaffer brings a heretofore unexamined perspective to the national school readiness/early learning debate—the awe and wonderment of museum collections. Though her scholarly integration of history, theory and practice she offers the promise of informal learning, in museum settings, as a viable strategy for improving outcomes for young children.” —Maurice Sykes, Executive Director, Early Childhood Leadership Institute, University of the District of Columbia
“Sharon Shaffer’s detailed explanation of advances in developmental psychology and its application to constructivist educational practices as well as her extensive experience in developing programming for preschool children make this book an important contribution to anyone wishing to engage this age group in museums.” —From the Foreword by George Hein