In collaboration with the BUILD Initiative, a national effort that advances state work on behalf of young children, families, and communities, Boston Children’s Museum will expand the existing project over a 3-year timeline. Together with participating museums and libraries, the Museum will maintain and improve Massachusetts’ existing networks; scale pilot efforts in South Carolina and Virginia; launch new grassroots museum and library networks in Iowa, Mississippi, and New Mexico; and develop methods for network sustainability within and among the states. By the end of 3 years, there will be six statewide networks in sustaining mode nationwide. The Education Development Center (EDC) will serve as the third-party evaluator for the project, documenting the progress and testing the effectiveness of the model in building institutional readiness to serve all families in their regions.
Boston Children’s Museum will work with museums and libraries through site visits, conference calls, webinars, and an annual leadership institute to bring states together to learn and share from each other. Individual institutions will strengthen their knowledge and skills for reaching out to and serving families, including low income and hard-to-reach families. The networks will develop and integrate systems and policies within their institutions to support this work going forward. Through the data gathered over the 3 years of the project, strategies for sustainability across various types of organizations from varied geographical settings will be identified and shared with all participants.
“We know that caregivers and parents are always seeking ways to ensure their children succeed in school and in life,” said Carole Charnow, President & CEO. “Communities have many resources that can help parents in these efforts, but families may not be able to easily access these resources. Over the past several years, Boston Children’s Museum, along with its partner museums, libraries and early care providers, has built a powerful early-learning network in Massachusetts to connect families to learning opportunities in their neighborhoods, and we are very grateful to the IMLS for supporting us in applying what we’ve learned to benefit children and families in additional states.”
The goal of the Building a National Network of Museums and Libraries for School Readiness is to amplify the strength of organizations serving children and families by forming coalitions that ensure all children in their regions, regardless of socio-economic or linguistic background, have the skills needed to enter school prepared for success. Strongly aligned with the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ goal to build capacity for museums and libraries, the Building a National Network of Museums and Libraries for School Readiness program will engage more states and institutions nationwide in harnessing the power of museums and libraries to support school readiness.
“Boston Children’s Museum offers unique capacity-building training opportunities for both museum and library professionals, and we look forward to working with them to further early childhood learning in both fields,” said Paula Gangopadhyay, Deputy Director of IMLS’s Office of Museum Services.
Building a National Network of Museums and Libraries for School Readiness will expand upon the success of Boston Children’s Museum’s Museums/Libraries Project, which created a wide network connecting museums and libraries across the state of Massachusetts. Under the leadership of children’s museums and libraries, the statewide partnerships help to forge connections and strengthen existing networks of museums, libraries, community organizations, and early care and education provider networks; build professional capacity for implementing high-quality informal learning experiences for children across the state; and foster family engagement and learning, especially among hard-to-reach and underserved families.
For additional information, visit www.BostonChildrensMuseum.org