Friday, April 11, 2014

Talking Back: Museum Play Guides

In celebration of National Volunteer Week, meet some of our remarkable play guides!

Katie Meloro, a Providence College student studying elementary and special education, began an internship last summer.

What brought you to the Museum?
I wanted an opportunity that would give me a chance to work with children without being in a traditional classroom setting.  The Museum offered me an internship that helped me work with the standards I use in all my lesson plans as well as let me engage children in fun play activities!

How might your internship benefit you as a teacher?

At first I thought that being a play guide would just be a bonus to the “real” experience I'd receive by creating a guide to align field trips to standards, but it turns out that has been the most valuable part by far!  Observing children engaging in free play has taught me a lot about how they learn and approach new experiences, which will be incredibly useful when I run my own classroom.

What are your favorite ways to play in the Museum?
I've found that visitors respond most when I engage in side-by-side play and either compare what we're doing or ask them to help me.  Children are naturally curious and so am I, so it's a great combination.

What’s one of your most memorable play moments?
A few children created an entire kingdom using the Imagination Playground blocks and other materials.  They hadn't known each other prior, but these children collaborated with their adults and with everyone who entered to create a new world.  I love that combination of resourcefulness and imagination!

Nakeecha Roberts and her children Lionel (16) and Heaven (14) have volunteered as a family since last fall.

What inspired you and your family to start volunteering at the Museum?
It’s required for Lionel’s school and I’m a single mom, had been out of work for a year, and wanted something I could do while searching for a job.  Heaven and Lionel have gone to the Children's Museum since they were very young and we’ve always enjoyed spending time there as a family.  We were so excited that this would not only show our support and love for the Museum but was a way to learn something new and have fun doing it.

What have you gotten from the experience so far?
The value of family. Whenever we greet a visiting family, it means a lot to us that we make their visit fun, safe, lively and gratifying, [and filled] with learning, creativity and bonding.

What are your favorite exhibits and ways to play in the Museum?
Our favorite exhibits are ThinkSpace, Discovery Studio and Coming to Rhode Island.  We like building with blocks to see if we can create something new.  We also love to dress up and pretend we’re princesses or pilgrims!

What else do you all like to do together as a family?
We enjoy being outdoors when it's warm and sunny. We go to the park to play basketball, badminton, ball, frisbee, and enjoy remote control planes and cars. We love going out for ice cream or out to a restaurant. We love to visit other museums out of state, like Massachusetts and DC.

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