Early Childhood Education Thrives at the Museum

February 23rd, 2016 by Kate Nelson

HeadStart-puppettheaterIn just over two years, the New Mexico History Museum’s pre-K program for local Head Start classrooms provided more than 1,500 free visits and classroom time to children, parents and teachers. Begun with generous funding by the Brindle Foundation, it faced a sad demise at the end of 2015 until two angels arrived. Stephen and Jane Hochberg, longtime supporters of the museum, have provided funds to keep the program alive and begin expanding it.

The newly named Hochberg Early Childhood Education Academy “is a marquee program for the museum because it is a core piece of outreach,” Director Andrew Wulf said. “We’re offering the opportunity for early childhood–age visitors to come to the museum with their families in a structured and educationally fulfilling experience.”

The program rotates through 20 classrooms in Santa Fe, Nambe and Arroyo Seco. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, the museum visits include story time, art-making or hands-on projects, games, and trips to the galleries. Each classroom receives a book to take back to their libraries.

“The hands-on approach allows students to become active participants instead of passive learners who listen to speakers or watch films,” said René Harris, the museum’s education programs manager. “Recent education studies show that exploring objects through touch increases a child’s interest and attention to learning.”

Thanks to the Hochbergs, we’re doing our part to create lifelong learners and committed museum-goers.

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