8 August 2006

Children’s Museum of Manhattan emphasises play as foundation of learning [The New York Times]

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“PlayWorks” is the title of a new permanent exhibition at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan aimed at children under 5.

“Beneath each image will be a second canvas, a textural and three-dimensional rendering, which a child can touch. And this installation will be just one in a series of interactive exhibits: a huge transparent wall whose surface is for fingerpainting; a climbing structure with hidden dioramas; a sand laboratory with buried “treasures”; a construction area for building gadgets; and, among many other displays, a mechanical baby dragon that will say words when children drop letters into its mouth. The exhibition’s emphasis is not the old saw that learning is fun, but that fun is learning.”

“The idea is that in moments of everyday play children are really getting a tremendous amount of education,” said Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a professor of psychology at Temple University and an adviser to the project. “The significance of play as a foundation for learning is a critically important cultural message.”

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