Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Informal science education worked for her!

In case you had any doubts about the impact and importance of informal science education (I never did), I offer this recent photo of my 2 1/2 year-old daughter, Nora. She was playing dress-up one afternoon and came over to ask for some help packing her backpack. I obliged, took little notice of her unique get-up, and went back to what I was doing. She promptly ran off and disappeared for another five minutes.

When she returned, she was completely outfitted as you see her here.
"Goodbye, Mommy!" she announced triumphantly.
"Goodbye? Where are you going? Are you leaving?" I asked.
"I'm going to the rainforest," she said importantly. "I'm going to search for frogs, to dig them up and save them. I'm doing research."

Yes, that's right, my 31month-old child said all of that to me one afternoon while sporting a tiara (upside-down on the back of her head, it's hard to see in the picture), a candy necklace, mardi gras beads, a Toys-R-Us backpack filled with "supplies", a sand pail, and an over-sized beach shovel. As it turns out, Nora had been greatly impacted by some excellent informal science education at her tender age of two, and was very concerned about the global plight of frogs. I'm totally serious.

Between visiting the Amphibians exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Year of the Frog displays at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and watching the Sid the Science Kid series and Nature, both on PBS, Nora was very well-informed about declining frog populations (although she didn't put it that way) and the way science asks and answers questions. She wanted to go to the rainforest as a scientist to help save the frogs.

Talk about an "Aha!" moment. Here is proof positive that if you put good, quality, educational programming out there, our children, with a little help from us, will become consumers of that information and will get it! It works and it makes a difference.

So, to all of you fellow exhibit developers, education directors, outreach coordinators, instructors, tour guides, and volunteers out there, kudos! Keep up the good work. To all the parents, take your kids to the museum and the zoo, look for peepers around the pond in the park, turn off Oprah, and turn on PBS. Apparently, our kids are paying more attention than we think.

-- Post From My iPhone

No comments:

Post a Comment

Catch me on Voices of the Past