The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (CMNH) in Dover has been awarded a grant in the amount of $47,182 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support a pilot project Advancing Play-Based Learning in New Hampshire, a series of educational initiatives designed to help kindergarten teachers and parents implement Play-Based Learning activities in children’s early education. CMNH was the only children’s museum in the tri-state (NH/ME/MA) area to receive this highly competitive grant.

The Advancing Play-Based Learning in New Hampshire (APLNH) project will strengthen early learning as well as provide educators with the skills they need to be successful in implementing Play-Based Learning models in the classroom, required for all kindergarten’s in New Hampshire since 2018. In a recent survey of kindergarten teachers conducted by the University of New Hampshire’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies—a CMNH partner in this project—together with the New Hampshire Department of Education, over 85% of the respondents wanted more professional development opportunities pertaining to Play-Based Learning.

“The staff of CMNH are highly practiced in using Play-Based Learning within museum exhibits and classes,” says Jane Bard, CMNH President. “As experts in early childhood education, CMNH is well positioned to fill the gap in providing kindergarten teachers with solid instructional training in Play-Based Learning.”

The grant will support numerous activities including the production and distribution of a series of instructional videos, professional development workshops, family and educator open houses and subsidized educator-led play based curriculum programs at Title 1 schools. As CMNH has done with all programs, implementation plans will be adapted as necessary in order to continue to serve NH children and families during the pandemic.

“In Play-Based Learning children have more active input into what, and how, they learn,” explains Xanthi Gray, Education Director at CMNH. “It allows them to explore, discover, negotiate, take risks, create meaning, and solve problems – all of which help develop literacy, numeracy and social skills. But it requires the teacher to be highly skilled in facilitating and implementing Play-Based Learning.”

To learn more about Play-Based Learning initiatives or other programs and resources at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, visit this page.