By MEAGAN COLLINS
CAP TULSA PARTNERSHIP: In May, Philbrook Museum of Art opened its doors to students from CAP Tulsa’s Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) Reed School in order to provide play-based experiences that encourage children’s creativity.
ROSSY GILLE for GTR Newspapers
Throughout the spring months, Philbrook Museum of Art opened its doors to Tulsa and its four-year-old students with the goal of encouraging creativity inside and outside the museum.
As part of the partnership between Philbrook and Tulsa, which began four years ago, Philbrook covers the school’s transportation costs, museum admission for teaching staff and parent chaperones, and all project materials.
The purpose of the partnership is to provide a play-based, hands-on experience for children through age-specific activities, including scavenger hunts, picnic parties, and interactive garden story times.
Tulsa is one of the largest anti-poverty agencies in Oklahoma, offering high-quality education for children, birth through four years old, and encouraging social skills and motor development through its various programs.
In May, students from Tulsa’s Early Childhood Development Center () Reed School visited the museum.
“Four-year-olds are ideal for wonder and are great at sparking creativity,” says Jessimi Jones, Bernsen director of education and public programs for Philbrook. “They have an incredible capacity for imagination.
“For many kids this is their first time in a museum. These field trips provide an opportunity for the museum to experiment with the galleries and make them more hands-on and play-based.”
Teachers acted as tour guides as they led students from room to room. One teacher spread out a red-and-white-checkered picnic blanket, where the children sat, looked at paintings, and described what they saw or what they wanted to see.
In a different room, students looked at a still life painting of flowers. When they were done pointing out objects in the painting, students placed items—a vase, wooden duck, flowers—on a table to create their own still life exhibit.
In the gardens, a group of students looked at picture books while their teacher encouraged them to analyze the picture for clues as to the story. Then the children went on an art-themed scavenger hunt.
Jones notes, “Creative thinking is essential for everyone, whether they’re in the workforce or just as a citizen. Artists are ideal role models who can help foster imagination.”
Philbrook’s additional art education efforts included providing a special art education project at Tulsa’s Eugene Field Early Child Education Center in celebration of the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) “Week of the Young Child” and its ongoing offerings of specialized tours, classes, and enrichment opportunities.