Monday, November 30, 2015

Support Recess for Rhode Island

The Museum is proud to be a founding collaborator of Recess for Rhode Island, a coalition of organizations and individuals advocating for a statewide recess policy that:

  • Recognizes that children’s self-directed free play is essential to their cognitive, physical, social and emotional health and well-being.
  • Provides at least 20 minutes of recess – optimally 30-40 minutes – every day for all elementary school students (active outdoor play as often as possible).
  • Allows children to freely engage with each other and determine their own play, within reasonable boundaries, during well-supervised recess.
  • Stipulates that physical education class and mandated participation in adult-led sports and games, while also beneficial, shall not replace recess.
  • Prohibits denying recess to an individual student or a class as a disciplinary measure. 
  • Requires accommodations during recess for children with mental and physical disabilities.
  • Recognizes that for some children a supervised school setting is the only safe place self-directed play is available.
Visit to sign on to support a statewide recess policy that promotes time for play, and find resources and research about the importance of recess.

Also follow Recess for Rhode Island on Facebook for the latest recess news and updates.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Serving Up a New AmeriCorps Team

The Museum was excited to welcome a new AmeriCorps team – our 20th! – in September to begin a year of playful, powerful service.  The team extends the Museum's reach by inspiring inner-city children with after-school math and science programs at the Boys & Girls Club and Highlander Charter School, facilitating play-based problem-solving activities for Children’s Friend Head Start preschoolers, engaging Museum visitors in play and exploration, and recruiting and supporting Museum volunteers.

The 11 MuseumCorps members bring with them a wide range of skills and experience.  Cara was a mentor at New Urban Arts in Providence, and Elizabeth interned as an aquarist at Save the Bay.  Jillian has been at the Museum for year already as a work-study student.  Leigh was captain of her swim team at Brown University, and Meg has a degree in Geology.  Taylor is experienced in the Japanese practice of gyotaku, or fish printing, and Filipa is an aspiring cartoonist/animator.  Hayley taught English to children in France, and Monica is majoring in Spanish.  Rachel was an AmeriCorps member with City Year Boston, and Anna spent a year of service at a homeless shelter in New Jersey. 

Each team member is passionate about inspiring children’s lifetime love of learning.  “More than anything,” says Rachel, “I'm excited to be in a program that encourages kids to find the fun in learning!”  The team is also focused on giving back to the community through national service.  Leigh has heard many stories about the positive impact AmeriCorps has had on communities and she says, “I am excited that I now get to be a part of it through Providence Children's Museum!”

The new AmeriCorps team planned a frightfully fun Boo Bash celebration.

Welcome, team!

The Museum’s AmeriCorps program is made possible by a grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service and Serve Rhode Island, with support from additional sponsors for the Head Start and Learning Club programs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Puppets on Parade!

New this fall, see a festive puppet procession past storefronts and spectators, created by Exhibit Developer Jessica Neuwirth, Exhibits Director Robin Meisner and Experience Coordinator Mandy Roach and featuring the Museum’s collection of historic Betty Huestis marionettes.

Jessica shared her inspiration for the display: “I look after our collections – I’ve gone through all of the boxes and documentation and checked the condition of all of the puppets – so I know the range of puppets we have, but the same ones are so often used.  I wanted everyone else to come out so I thought, what story could we tell?”

To showcase the lesser-seen marionettes, Jessica conceptualized and sketched a spirited parade of puppets, which Mandy interpreted to create a lively and colorful backdrop.  During the installation process, they played off the backdrop to determine what other props were needed.

“I’m really happy with it,” said Jessica.  “I’ve seen kids and families taking great pleasure in seeing something new.”

The display will be on view through the spring so see it for yourself and join the parade!