Dimensions, July/August 2004—Science for Early Learners: Reaching Very Young Audiences

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July/August 2004

Last year at this time, we wrote about an audience seldom found in science centers—older adults—and described how museums are reaching out to these lifelong learners. In this issue, we turn our attention to what has been called the “hidden audience” of science centers—very young children—whose needs are sometimes overlooked even as we bill ourselves “family friendly.” Children’s museums, many of them longtime ASTC members, have led the way here; in 1990, ASTC and the Children’s Museum of Boston co-published a book, Planning for the Very Young, that addressed “excellence and equity in the pre-school activities at science museums.” But science centers, which seek to serve audiences of all ages, have continued to evolve their own approaches to early learning in science and technology. We offer some examples here.

Preschool Science Place: Creating a Playful Space for Early Learning, by Marcia Rudy
• One Experience at a Time: Measuring Success in the Kids Room, by Stacey Prinzing
• Science is Everywhere: Making a Commitment to Family Learning, by Suzanne Walton
• Supporting Teachers in Science, by Robin Schotter
• WOWtown: A Young Child’s Journey into the World Close By, by Lorne Perry
• Staffing an Early Learning Gallery, by Ann Ensminger
• Including Our Youngest Visitors, by Karen Propst

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