The mission of the Connecticut Children’s Museum is to provide children, their families and teachers with innovative and inclusive educational programs in an arts and literacy-based, multiple intelligences-inspired, magical place, rich in resources and rooted in the community. Children need a place of their own where they can experience the magic of learning at their own pace, a place full of whimsy and wisdom, a space built to their size and specifications. Early childhood educators need a place where they canlearn, a place where they can find support and inspiration. Families need a place of full of color, joy and community where they can play and learn together. The Children's Building, and all of its programs, is designed to be such a place.
The Little Read, modeled after The Big Read, is a literacy initiative where young children and their families across the community are reading a single book title at the same time. Each year, the New Haven Early Childhood Council, working with the Connecticut Children’s Museum, distributes over 3,000 high-quality, bi-lingual picture books to children throughout public and private early childhood classrooms and family childcare homes. Each site hosts a family-friendly event during the national Week of the Young Child.
Every child receives the same book, a book chosen because it highlights an important idea for young children. The family events are creative and inviting; all support the theme culled from the book and bring teachers, parents and children together, as community, to share the joy of reading a wonderful book and to take part in innovative activities linked to the book.
At the conclusion of the Week of the Young Child in April, early childhood sites submit a short report and pictures about their activity that illustrate how The Little Read inspired families and teachers alike to read together and celebrate young children.
We estimate The Little Read books to cost $3 each. We active seek community and donor support for the Week of the Young Child books.
The Connecticut Children’s Museum was established in 1974 and has served as a children’s museum, a childcare center, a base for outreach programs and a site for a magnet school. When the Board of Directors of the Creating Kids Childcare Center assumed control of the Children’s Building in the summer of 1999, we recognized the importance of this building and its programs to area families and educators. Through a series of community-based ‘Inspiration Evenings’, the organizational acumen of the Museum Renaissance Committee and the work of a dedicated group of local architects, artists and builders, the Connecticut Children’s Museum was re-opened in January of 2001. It is an important strand in the tapestry of the downtown revitalization efforts, drawing thousands of families with young children into New Haven, and serving hundreds of early childhood education programs, annually.
This majestic building, aptly named The Children’s Building, houses myriad children’s programs, all interwoven in purpose and philosophy. The Museum, through its Educational Field Trip program and family visits, serves as an informal learning environment, providing innovative, interactive and inclusive opportunities for each child to be a successful learner and every grown-up to be a brilliant mentor. The Connecticut Children’s Museum is a literacy haven with more than 500 children’s picture books, in many languages, included among its exhibits. The Creating Kids Childcare Center serves the childcare needs of area families.
The Museum and its childcare program use Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences as the inspiration and template for their design. This theory honors the many ways in which children are competent and creative in the world and provides families and teachers with a kaleidoscope view of their young children’s passions so that they can lend support to their individual learning patterns. The eight intelligences are mirrored throughout the museum rooms and woven throughout our early childhood education programs, forming the basis for curriculum development. They are: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist and bodily-kinesthetic.
As the director of the Connecticut Children's Museum, I am honored to work with a talented and dedicated professional staff who embrace the philosophical goals and implement the programs of the Museum and its early childhood center, Creating Kids.
In the Creating Kids Childcare Center each day, a sound curriculum is delivered in the most unique ways. Learning about classic nursery rhymes entails building a wall for Humpty Dumpty while reciting rhymes. Chinese New Year's is celebrated with authentic food prepared by our families and learning Chinese calligraphy. Martin Luther King Jr.'s lessons on equality are present as the class gathers to hear his famous speech and the children gain an understanding of things people share as well as the unique attributes of all during Same & Different Week.
I am proud to be part of the Children’s Museum. I have been on the board since 2007 and its chair since 2012. The Children’s Museum is an amazing organization and a wonderful addition to the New Haven community.
The Children’s Museum contributes so much to maintaining and improving early childhood education in the New Haven area. It is an inclusive organization with a physical plant and atmosphere that are accessible to all.
Creating Kids, the Museum’s wonderful childcare center, includes a diverse group of children, including those with special needs. The Museum's many programs, including educational field trips and family child care, introduce thousands of children to the joy of books. The Museum provides books to thousands of children each year including books in Braille.
Further, the Museum provides a place for early childhood educators to receive support and inspiration. Its Creating Curriculum program contributes to the training of early childhood educators throughout the area. The Early Childhood Resource Center likewise provides continuing education to many early childhood providers.
The Museum is a place where families can play together and children can explore and create in a meaningful and interactive way.
It is satisfying to contribute to an institution that is creative and always looking for new ways to meet its goals. The addition of the Early Childhood Resource Center in 2016 is just one example of this.
The continuing challenges the Board of Directors of the Museum faces are those that many non-profits face. These include keeping the physical plant in good condition, paying competitive salaries and providing adequate support to our staff. Grants and contributions are critical to our maintaining our programs.
I am pleased to be part of such an important and vibrant organization.
Katharine Goodbody -- Board Chair
Educational Field Trips are part of our affirmative attendance program, bringing over 3,500 inner-city children, their families and teachers to the Museum each year. The Museum provides a unique educational destination annually for children from early childhood programs, licensed family childcare homes and elementary schools where the exhibits inspire teachers and students. Books are nestled into every exhibit, providing children with a literacy reference. For example, there are books about bees and beekeeping strategically placed nearby the Naturalist Room's observation beehive to deepen the experience of finding the queen bee and watching the worker bees arrive with pollen. Each child receives a new, bi-lingual children’s picture book for his or her ‘little library’ at home, thereby extending the experience and building their literacy resources. Many of our field trips have an international theme, providing children with new knowledge and a connection to children around the world.
Providing books is a direct response to the dearth of high-quality children’s picture books in homes of our most at-risk children. “The only behavioral measure that correlates significantly with reading scores is the number of books in the home." Our primary audience is children, ages 0 to 8, who are at risk for low performance in preschool and school. According to the CT Department of Education, the majority of children in our area lives in poverty and in under-resourced neighborhoods, entering kindergarten without the skills or resources they need to be successful students. 60% of our children fail to meet the State’s 3rdgrade standards for reading. “Home library size has a very substantial effect on educational attainments, even adjusting for parents’ education, father’s occupational status and other family background characteristics.” Children living in under-resourced homes have 1 book for every 300 children. Our Educational Field Trip Program addresses this need.
Mornings at the Museum brings family childcare providers, and the children they care for, to the Connecticut Children’s Museum for monthly literacy-based field trips. Family childcare providers need teaching materials and access to resources. The program provides a high-quality, bi-lingual children’s picture book for each provider and each of their enrolled children and complementary curriculum materials that correlate with the book to expand the learning opportunities and to enhance the materials in the family childcare setting. By increasing the provider's resources, children can more readily acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be ready for school. Family childcare providers work with families, talking with them about the importance of reading and how the book is a tool to help their children develop the strong literacy skills needed to succeed in school and in life. Families receive a literacy learning fact bookmark that identifies key learning concepts from the book.
In the fall of 2016, the Connecticut Children's Museum assumed stewardship of the Early Childhood Resource Center. We recognize that the quality of care in early childhood programs is directly correlated to the professional development and education of the teaching staff. Teaching staff in classrooms and in family childcare settings need support, professional development opportunities and access to resources to improve and enhance the quality of their programs. Our vibrant and active Early Childhood Resource Center provides these critical elements of support, education and resources.
The Connecticut Children's Museum has many partners. Here is the list of projects and our collaborators for each one.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
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Educate a child and you change a community. For the child, a good education means better career opportunities and higher lifetime earnings. College graduates enjoy better health and are more inclined to volunteer and vote. For the community, supporting our youths’ educational goals results in a stronger society.
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