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Bay Area Discovery Museum Blog

Play, discover, create!

As you likely know, this Museum is not only a great place for children to visit with their parents and babysitters, but also with the most special of relatives, grandparents. We always see grandparents at the museum with their grandchildren and have been working for sometime on ways to connect with them more deeply. It’s clear to us that the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is very special and we want to acknowledge the importance of this bond here at the Museum. A few months ago, the Museum's founding Executive Director, who is now a grandparent herself, approached us with the idea to form a group to give grandparents special opportunities to spend time with their grandchildren here, a place where they adore watching them play, learn and grow. We, of course, loved the idea and – ta da ! – launched Grandparent Circle, a Museum donor and membership group designed just for grandparents. Through their generous donation (Grandparent Circle memberships begin at $500) Grandparent Circle members contribute to the strength and vitality of our hands-on exhibits, educational and community outreach programs, as well as our ability to develop creativity in all Bay Area children, nurturing future generations of creative thinkers and innovators. To celebrate the kick-off of Grandparent Circle we are inviting all grandparents to bring their grand-kids to our first ever Pajama Party Sing-Along featuring Museum faves Miss Kitty and Tim Cain! Space is lim... continue reading
Beginning last fall we restructured our Museum Educator Program in two very important ways. First, we asked our Educators to commit to the Museum from September through the end of May, developing a “class” that could be trained and developed together as a group. Second, we required that each Educator develop, produce, and evaluate drop-in programs for our visitors at least twice a month. Many of you have had the benefit of participating in our bay walks, music parades, glowing goo workshops, worm time in the Outdoor Learning Lab, building nests, and many other open-ended creative programs. As we near the end of May we are sadly preparing to say goodbye to some of the special individuals our staff and visitors have enjoyed and appreciated for the last nine months.
  • Joe Schine is leaving to lead a youth canoe trip in Northern Ontario.
  • Shannon Calloway is heading to Hawaii to work at a Bed & Breakfast on a macadamia nut farm.
  • Pagan Neil is leaving to pursue a new career in Early Childhood Education.
  • Susan Hughes will be working this summer for Camp Galileo.
  • Danielle Pitchford is making the transition to work as our Summer Camp Coordinator.
We are also happy to announce that Matt Robinson, Jason Jordan, and Raquel Valentin have committed to return next year as Lead Discovery Educators.  They will share the responsibility to help coach and train our new crop of Educators, and they will be pursuing a deeper and more focus... continue reading

Redefining Success for Our Children

Our friends at Challenge Success have a great event on Saturday, May 2 featuring a number of speakers that we've hosted at Discovery Museum events, including former Discovery Forum speaker Dan Pink, and Discovery Circle speakers Madeline Levine, Denise Pope & Jim Lobdell. This parent education event offers commentary on some provocative questions, including
  • What does success looks like and how can your children achieve it in the 21st century?
  • Can success be attained by a check-listed childhood?
  • How do we maintain academic standards while encouraging physical and emotional resilience?
This event is on Saturday, May 2 at the JCC in San Francisco, and is presented by the Stanford School of Education and Challenge Success. Tickets are available for purchase online. continue reading

Art Studio 10: Process, not product

I hope you've had a chance to visit Art Studio 10 recently - the open-ended projects developed by Lead Art Educator Sarah "Starfeather" Spivy are so full of creativity! We've recently added some explanatory signage to the wall, which I'm sharing here so you can know what to expect about our process when you bring your children.

Learning with found materials

We choose to focus on found and recyclable materials because they surround us in the environment. The shapes, colors, and textures in these often discarded objects can create a bridge to visual and active learning. Most of these items can be found around your house and usually end up in the recycle bin. We hope this project will inspire you to continue to work with these materials at home. For children under 3-years-old this project is a great opportunity to practice the following:
  • holding scissors properly and cutting paper scraps
  • tearing paper
  • explore the“sensory bin”
  • using the tape dispenser properly and taping paper scraps together
Helpful ways to facilitate this project for children 3 and older:
  • Use your imagination and explore unusual materials
  • Consider the following areas of artistic expression: sculpture, collage, craft, drawing, construction
  • Create your own puppets and use our puppet theater to put on a show
Encourage discovery and process by talking with your ... continue reading

Where'd we go?

Hello loyal blog readers! I'm sure you're wondering where we went ... right? Well, we haven't been eaten by the sea monster in the Art Studios... It's probably best explained by noting that we're mostly a "me" - Jennifer Caleshu, Director of Communications. I wear many hats at the Museum, and one of them is social media content creator. A few colleagues join me in this effort, notably Public Programs Manager Heather Posner, but our biggest challenge is finding time to write. So going forward, we'll be using this blog for writing longer original pieces, rather than updating you about our events. My plan is to try to post one longer piece here every week, but for ongoing events, sharing of links and news stories, you'll find us over on Facebook and Twitter. Don't belong to either? The good news is you can find our content on the Connect Online page, featuring feeds of current posts from Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for your patience as our content evolves. If you have any requests for content you'd like to see here or elsewhere, please feel free to email me directly at Thanks for reading, and see you around the social media sphere! continue reading
As many of you know, the Museum has family-friendly performances most Saturday mornings in the Discovery Theatre. These range from music, and dance to interactive plays and are thoughtfully chosen to stimulate a child’s curiosity and imagination as well as appeal to parents and caregivers. The shows require an additional ticket that can be purchased online or at the front desk on the day of the performance. Most of the shows have been selling out, so it is best to order tickets in advance since there is a limited number available. The maximum occupancy of the theatre is 180. The Fire Marshall has determined that this is the number that can be safely allowed into the theatre. Once we have reached 180, we can not sell more tickets or let more people into the theater. As you can imagine, families with small children often are running late and may show up after the performance has begun. If they have preordered a ticket, we do not resell that ticket once the show begins. So, make sure that you don’t miss out and buy your tickets online. Tickets are sold online up until the night before the show. continue reading

World on Stage: Las Que Son Son

Saturday, February 27 11 a.m. At the heart of Cuban music is its power to inspire dance! Las Que Son Son performs dances from both Cuba’s popular and folk forms. This all-female ensemble shares the many influences of Caribbean dance with its West African roots. Buy tickets online. World On Stage Ethnic Performance Series 2010 January 9 – February 27
Discovery Theatre, presented by Wells Fargo Members $7; General Child $12; General Adult $14  (includes Museum admission)   continue reading
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