Friday, April 22, 2016

Celebrating Our Volunteers

This post was contributed by Jillian Winters, AmeriCorps Museum Educator.

Last week, April 10 to 16, Providence Children’s Museum celebrated National Volunteer Week. It was a fun-filled week complete with spirit dress-up days and an ice cream sundae bar to honor and recognize the incredible work our volunteers do to make the Museum the wonderful place that it is.

The Museum would not be able to open its doors without volunteers. Volunteers greet visitors at the Admissions Desk, play with children and grown-ups in the exhibits, help staff develop programs, and work behind-the-scenes to complete special projects. In 2015 alone, 375 dedicated volunteers, interns and college work-study students collectively gave 11,147 hours of their time to the Museum!

“Getting to work with our volunteers and work-study students is wonderful in and of itself – seeing their playfulness and how much they take the Museum’s mission to heart. But even something as simple as tracking volunteer hours becomes a daily reminder for me of the tremendous impact they have on our organization as a whole. Whether those hours were spent playing with families in exhibits, stuffing envelopes for a mailing, or setting up the night before a big event – it ALL matters.”
Turenne Bedell, Volunteer & AmeriCorps Coordinator

“I simply couldn’t do my job without our interns. I’ve always felt that, because the Museum is such an enthusiastic and exciting place to be, we attract the best of the best to our internships.”
Sara Clarke, Events Manager

“My favorite part of my job is getting to interact with our volunteers. Whether they are in Water Ways or at our front desk, our volunteers inspire play and learning through their passion and commitment to our Museum.”
Amanda Howard, Experience Coordinator

Thursday, April 21, 2016

THE LAND Screening and Discussion

Providence Children’s Museum is partnering with Grand View Child Care Program to present a screening and discussion of “The Land” at Rochambeau Library, 708 Hope Street in Providence, on Monday, May 2 from 7:00 - 8:30 PM. The event is free and open to the public – click here to RSVP.

The 2015 documentary short film is about the nature of play, risk and hazard and is set in a Welsh adventure playground where children climb trees, light fires and use hammers and nails.  The Land is a playspace rooted in the belief that kids are empowered and understand their own capabilities and limits when they learn to manage risks on their own.  The film has attracted national attention after being featured in a number of recent articles including “The Overprotected Kid” a provocative piece in The Atlantic by Hanna Rosin that provides a look at adventure playgrounds and how “a preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery – without making it safer.”

Credit Hanna Rosin
Following the screening, join a conversation about the film, adventure play and the benefits of risk to kids’ physical and emotional development.  Discuss ways to foster healthy risk-taking in kids’ play, and how to provide kids with opportunities for adventure play.

The screening and conversation are part of the Museum’s commitment to advocate for and raise awareness about the critical importance of self-directed play for children’s healthy growth and development.

See the trailer, and click here to learn more about the film:

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Message from New Executive Director Caroline Payson

Dear Friends,
It is an honor to write my first letter to you as Executive Director of Providence Children's Museum.  I arrived in Providence in late February from New York, where I spent 10 years as the Director of Education at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.  While there I directed audience engagement efforts and was an advocate for education and museum outreach, locally and globally.   The common thread throughout my professional life has been connecting people to experiences and resources that will be valuable to them whether they are preschool or K-12 students, educators or life-long learners.  I've made a career of translating the content of these institutions in order to engage wider audiences and create meaningful connections.

I was thrilled when the Museum's Board of Directors offered me this exciting opportunity.  I was already aware of the wonderful work the Museum was doing, both inside its walls through its engaging exhibits and programs and its groundbreaking work in the community through the Families Together therapeutic visitation program and in partnership with organizations such as Head Start.  I was also impressed by the Museum's work researching the importance of play in child development and its leadership role in play advocacy.  I'm eager to build on the Museum's many past successes and to work with our stellar team to create new opportunities to impact children and families. 

I've had the great pleasure of meeting many supporters and community leaders over the past several weeks, and I look forward to connecting with more members of the Museum community over the coming months.  I'm excited to work with all of you to extend our important mission to inspire and celebrate learning through active play and exploration.