Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center Classes for Families


I am enormously proud to be working with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) as a blogger consultant to this incredible non-profit that serves local families, children and museums throughout the country. The best perk of my helping out a bit is the chance to check out their offerings for families with my own children! This past weekend, my almost-three-year-old Alice and I had the chance to experience a sample SEEC class.

My kids and I are veterans of the kids’ class circuits. Music Together, Gymboree, Tiny Toes, Little Gym, My Gym, recreation center and county classes…over the last 10 years we have done them all. So I feel like an expert when I state that the SEEC classes are phenomenal, combining age-appropriate arts learning with the fabulous resources and exhibits of the Smithsonian Institution.

At a recent class for children and their parents/caregivers, we focused on the puppet display case in the lobby of the American History Museum. Alice and I, and other parents and kids, learned about the art and history of puppetry. The class blended different styles of learning and stimulating experiences for my child and myself, making for an enjoyable, memorable museum trip.

Here is how our 90 minute SEEC class experience went down:

1. We started in the SEEC preschool classroom having some free play with puppet toys with the other children attending class. (Classes are small in class size, making for a relaxing experience for the children and accompanying parents/caregivers.)

2. Next we joined the teacher for circle time, talking about puppets we were going to see when we visited the museum.

3. We “made a train” and held hands as we walked through the staff halls of the Smithsonian (just like the second Night at the Museum movie!)  and once in the museum, SEEC educators led us in an age-appropriate, exciting study of the display cases. Kids pointed out things they saw, educators gently suggested new things to take in and parents learned how to truly “use” a museum with their young ones.

4. Then we dropped down and made a wide “museum circle”, right in front of the exhibit! We watched a puppet movie on a tablet and then sang a song together.

5. We returned to the classroom and the children created their own puppet artwork using materials that related directly to our lesson. We even shared a themed snack!

Alice and I thought this class was the bee’s knees. I heartily recommend these classes to local parents. Your kids are not too young! As SEEC’s Executive Director, Dr. Kimberlee Kiehle says,

“People think children are too young for museums, that they should not bring kids to the museum until they are eight or nine or ten. But at the last SEEC infant workshop, we had a four month old and he was fascinated by the looking at the paintings! Children are never too young to learn at the museum.”

Not only did Alice benefit from the class, I have gained so much knowledge as a parent in how all three of children, at their various ages, can learn and grow through our museum visits.

Register for the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC)’s spring classes for families! Please note that you can join a class that has already begun and your fee will be pro-rated. 

Tiny Gardeners
Wednesdays, March 5-26
10-11:30 am
6 – 18 months
Registration and Info

Where Does It Come From?
Saturdays, March 1-22 10-11:30 am
19 months – 3 years
Registration and Info

What Does It Mean?
Saturdays, April 26—May 17 10—12pm
3.5—6 years
Registration ?
From portrait to landscape, children discover art through it’s many forms and meanings.

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