The Wonder Years:
Understanding Early Childhood Development
Through programs, an exhibition, and research, this project engages museum visitors, policymakers, and caregivers in deliberations around the latest, and often misunderstood, early childhood development research. It also builds on an increased understanding of the importance of early childhood development to expand civic engagement around this urgent social issue. The project creates dynamic links between current research on early childhood development and the audiences of museum visitors, policymakers, and caregivers to help them become more informed supporters of our youngest citizens.
CEED's contribution to this project is to:
- provide up-to-date research findings about early development for exhibit development and visitor experiences,
- assist with exhibit programming that targets policymakers, and
- research how the exhibit and programming impact policymakers and others.
Wonder Years Exhibit at the Science Museum
The Wonder Years permanent exhibit invites you to see the world through the eyes of the child you once were. Why are experiences an important part of development? What do children learn before kindergarten? Explore how young children learn from the world around them and how scientists learn about children's development. Bring your family and friends--Wonder Years is included with museum admission.
- Wonder Years Exhibit Awarded Distinguished Service Award, February 2012
Wonder Years Lecture Series - June 7, 2012 Lecture
The Science Museum of Minnesota conducted a lecture series associated with the Wonder Years exhibit.
Playful Learning: An Evidence-based Model of Preschool Education
Lecturer: Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
Presentation handout (16 pages)
Visit the Wonder Years website at the Science Museum of Minnesota.
- Article: Opening Minds to the "Wonder Years." Monitor on Psychology, May 2011, American Psychological Association.
- Improving How Science Informs Policy: Understanding the Learning Context and Existing Knowledge of Policy-Learners. A panel presentation to the Conference on Research Innovations in Early Intervention (CRIEI) by Karen Cadigan. San Diego, CA, February 25-27, 2010. On behalf of the Wonder Years project.
- Using Dialogue to Bridge the Research to Policy Gap: Mr. Smith Goes to Preschool. A panel presentation to the Conference on Research Innovations in Early Intervention (CRIEI) by Lesley Craig-Unkefer, Karen Cadigan, John Hottinger, Scott McConnell, and Nora Slawick. San Diego, CA, February 25-27, 2010.
- Why Superintendents and Early Childhood Education? Part of a panel presentation to the Conference on Research Innovations in Early Intervention (CRIEI) by Carolyn Cherry (Karen Cadigan, Lesley Craig-Unkefer), San Diego, CA, February 25-27, 2010.
- Examining the Role of Museums and Libraries in Strengthening Communities (9 pages), Testimony of Dr. Eric. J. Jolly, President, Science Museum of Minnesota, before the House Committee of Education and Labor at the Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities, September 11, 2008.
- Wonder Years newsletter
University Project Staff
Laurel Bidwell, Research Assistant
Karen Cadigan, Co-Principal Investigator
Senator John Hottinger, Project Consultant
Molly Illes, Research Assistant
Sara Langworthy, Graduate Student Intern
Chuck Slocum, Project Consultant
Kathleen Thomas, University Faculty