Children's Museum of the East End- Bridgehampton, NY
What a joy to spend a couple days at Children's Museum of the East End in Bridgehampton, NY. Though we initially wrote a grant to create an original installation around bay ecology through NYSCA, we changed course to use resources to enhance existing programs at the museum working with the Latino community.
In a wonderfully diverse community, the Hamptons is home to spanish-speaking immigrants from all over Central, South America and Mexico. The museum positions itself to support families' transitions through engaging programs, access to services and community-building. I got to participate in two programs during my visit: a program for mamas and babies birth to 16 months and an afterschool family program based around science curriculum called Ciencias.
I was really inspired by the babies in this group! Moms had the opportunity to bond and discuss developmental milestones and changes they've noticed with their little ones. Babies danced, played percussion instruments and investigated a parachute, too!
Later in the day 30 families arrived at the museum to continue working on a semester-long unit on Sharks for CMEE's Ciencias program. Children shared a dance piece they choreographed on shark feeding patterns and sculpted different shark breeds out of clay.
After the children went off to play in the museum I worked with parents to create underwater elements for the display of the sharks. In a couple weeks the museum will host an event to celebrate and showcase the group's work on sharks and will feature an ocean installation with the hanging shark sculptures. Parents always create artwork alongside their children and work on their own projects too.
I loved being part of these rich programs at CMEE and look forward to seeing how theatre engagement is incorporated into their practice. What a trip! Below is the woman behind all of these programs at CMEE, Leah Oppenheimer. As a social worker/social justice educator focusing around early education, this woman is my new hero!