Preparing for Future Success at SPARK
When children engage in exhibits and quality educational programs offered at SPARK, they are working toward developmental milestones recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, as well as current state and national academic standards. Engagement at SPARK also promotes school readiness by focusing on early literacy, beginning math and science concepts, the development of planning and problem-solving skills, cooperation, self-esteem and self-discipline, and physical coordination.
Play enhances brain structure and promotes executive function (the process of learning). Children need to develop various skill sets to optimize their development and manage stress. Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with caregivers and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain. Furthermore, play supports forming safe, stable, and nurturing relationships with all caregivers that children need to thrive.
SPARK does not stop providing opportunities as children age. Due to the global pandemic, intergenerational learning is more important now than ever. 88% of older adults reported fewer feelings of isolation after two years of intergenerational programming, and 84% reported better or more stable health The benefits of intergenerational programming are realized in youth, too. Interacting with older adults helps young people develop communication skills, positive attitudes about aging, problem-solving abilities, social networks, and a sense of purpose. Young people in intergenerational mentoring programs are 52% less likely to skip school. The statistics on the symbiotic health benefits do not end there.
SPARK encourages intergenerational learning through free admission to grandparents every Tuesday, all day long. Intergenerational programming on Tuesdays is intentional and spans the gamete of different age groups, from infants to elderly, in various situations. On any given Tuesday, visitors will see children and grandparents laughing and playing on the surface but beneath that are multiple generations learning social skills in a nurturing environment with a patient and positive role model. Seniors embrace the chance to step outside their normal routine at SPARK because the museum is a safe space with health and well-being activities, allowing visitors to exercise their minds and laugh.
This program is proudly supported by:
Carl and Verna Schmidt Foundation