I’ve talked a lot about the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) on this blog. It was my first “classroom teaching” gig and gave me a chance every day to try out ways that the museum could benefit young children.
Sharon Shaffer, the founding director of SEEC, has a new book out called “Engaging Young Children in Museums.” I was lucky enough to be given a copy and just finished reading it. I can’t call this a true “review” because I know Sharon personally (she was still director when I was teaching there) and I am quoted briefly in the book/supplied an image for it. However, I can tell you a little about it and let you decide for yourself!
I will say that this is a dense little book. It comes in at under 200 pages but is packed with information. It does a pretty comprehensive take on the history of children in museums and also education theory/teaching methods. If you were a museum educator without a lot of background in early childhood education, this would be a good reference to have. I will say, I’d take it slow and work your way through pieces of it or you’ll get overwhelmed.
I also like the conversation it starts about helping docents and other educators become more comfortable with the audience, and there are some concrete ideas and good template documents at the back for planning purposes.
I would be interested to get some feedback from someone with out an early childhood background to see how clear the information was to them and if the suggestions could be easily implemented. If anyone has read it, let me know your thoughts!
You can purchase the book directly from Left Coast Press and it is also available on Amazon etc.