“The experiences of childhood, pioneering research shows, help form the brain’s circuits – for music and math, language and emotion. If the neurons are used, they become integrated into the circuitry of the brain by connecting to other neurons; if they are not used, they may die. It is the experiences of childhood, determining which neurons are used, that wire the circuits of the brain as surely as a programmer at a keyboard reconfigures the circuits in a computer.”
From “Your Child’s Brain,” Newsweek, February 19, 1998
From birth on, children’s brains are altered permanently by each and every experience. The most critical time for learning is the first three years when a handful of neurological pathways develop into trillions of connections. Through age 10, the brain shows almost twice the activity of an adult brain allowing children to absorb information at a rate much faster than adults. This phenomenal brain growth results in windows of opportunity for learning that occur only once in a lifetime.
This research confirms what educators have suspected for years – that early experiences are the most important in life for all forms of development. In fact, it was with this conviction that Louise Beem and Dorothy Carpenter, early childhood educators, founded the DuPage Children’s Museum in 1987. Their initial motivation and continuing commitment is based on the belief that young children need hands-on discovery experiences in order to create their own knowledge and provide a foundation for successful lifelong learning.
The DuPage Children’s Museum is uniquely situated to play a significant role in this brain development. Under one roof children can explore everything from emotions as they maneuver a wheelchair to logical reasoning as they build a roller coaster. And because it is an informal setting in which children choose their activities, the experiences are even more valuable. Each visit to the museum can produce thousands of new connections in a child’s brain! See children museum of the arts.
The importance of interactive children’s museums is recognized throughout the world. In this country alone, there are over 300? such institutions with five in the Chicago metropolitan area. With over 150,000 annual visitors, the DuPage Children’s Museum adds greatly to the educational culture of the western suburbs.