There's Not One Definition of Success

Natasha Venti
February 3, 2020
a mother and son share an A-ha moment!

Discovery Museum visitors bring a wide range of interests, temperaments, ages, and abilities to their experiences here.  And so, we design both our exhibits and programs around the basic idea that there is no one “right” way to participate and no “one-size-fits-all” definition of success. Because kids approach learning in very different ways, our approach is intentionally open-ended, giving children of all ages and abilities a chance to participate in their own way and build skills.

While some children dive right in, others take more time to warm up—or are happy just to watch. Where one child becomes so engrossed that he spends his entire museum visit on a single activity, another calls himself done after a few minutes. This makes for a rich educational environment where children and adults are free to explore their own ideas at their own pace as they play, discover, and learn together.

In our “Snip and Tear” program, some children are very comfortable using scissors to make paper confetti, while for others it is a first experience. Still others prefer to skip the scissors entirely and tear the paper with their hands. We always emphasize that it is the process that’s important, not the finished product.

Our “Make a Mess” series of programs—which introduces STEAM concepts through sensory-based, hands-on experiences—offers another great example. During “Make a Mess: Pumpkin Take Aparts,” some kids plunge their arms elbow-deep into a pumpkin, happily scooping out sticky pumpkin guts, while other kids meticulously remove pumpkin seeds, one by one, with a pair of tweezers. In both cases, the children are exploring, using their senses, and satisfying their curiosity. The end result looks different, but each child took part in the process and made his or her own discoveries, building skills and confidence they’ll need to keep learning at the Museum, in school, and in the world beyond.

a woman stands in front of a sequin display board
Natasha Venti

I am a firm believer that children learn and grow through play. As an Early Childhood Educator at the Discovery Museum, I’m able to promote learning through interactive, hands-on, STEAM-rich public programs to help children and adults learn by means of exploration and experimentation. Kids are capable of incredible things and there’s nothing more rewarding than that “ah-ha” moment when a child discovers something new! I am thrilled to be part of the Discovery Museum team fostering family fun and celebrating the joys of learning together.

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We firmly believe in the fundamental value of play for children—and families—to support emotional, developmental, and social health and well-being. This blog will explore why play matters, and touch on all aspects of our work to encourage play and support early STEAM learning.