From Amateur to Expert

Amateur to ExpertWe are used to the idea that kids need time to go from amateur to expert. We don’t expect them to roll over…then get up and run around the room. We even have a buzzy education word to describe helping kids move from stage to stage “scaffolding.” Just like in construction, we build a scaffold of skills and information so they can move from developmental step to another.

This concept is important in areas beyond the development of physical or mental skills. Kids also need to be able to build up the skills they need to handle different situations and expectations. If you are hoping to take your kids to a museum on a regular basis, you need to help build that foundation so they can become experts in what they are supposed to do.

It might start as simply as going for walks in the area near the museum. Especially if you have a class of kids you are bringing they need to get used to navigating as a group, what the walk is like (Traffic? Distractions? Busy sidewalks?). Getting out into the community and back with limited tears and tantrums is a perfect step one.

After that, you can move up to using outdoor areas around the museum. If the weather (and landscape) cooperates you can share a story, have a snack, do an activity near the museum. There may still be different rules and expectations, especially if there is outdoor art, but it will still be a familiar arena.

Once you all have a handle on that (and I do mean all, the adults have to be ready as well!) go ahead and venture inside. Maybe you start by just doing a little walk through and leaving again. You can move up to visiting a specific object, then sharing a story or doing an activity. The visits and walks can get longer until you find that you are all feeling like experts.

Don’t worry if you have to stay at a particular “step” for a long time….or if your particular group never gets all the way to the “top.” All that matters is the experience they are getting and the comfort they are building with new and different environments. There is no right or wrong, just the one that works for you.

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