Officials at The Strong National Museum of Play and Rochester school board President Van White are in discussions to explore possible partnerships between the museum and some city schools. The early discussions have involved tapping the museum's expertise to show teachers how to use play to enrich instruction, White says.
The partnership would be between The Strong and district schools that are already in educational partnership relationships: East High School and the University of Rochester and School 19 and SUNY Geneseo, White says.
"I've been to museums all over the country, and The Strong National Museum of Play is at the very top," White says. "It's an incredible experience for children and adults, and we should be very, very proud that Rochester has this."
The partnership with The Strong would start with teacher training and development and with giving students greater access to the museum. But the relationship with The Strong could expand into something larger, White says.
"They see themselves as part of the educational process," White says.
And the museum is indeed already involved in education; it operates its own pre-school program.
White says that the initial talks have focused on East High and School 19 because the existing educational partnerships with those schools allow for some flexibility and experimentation.
Those partnerships give the district "an opportunity to try different things," White says. "We're trying to create incubators of success with these schools that can be shared with all of our schools."
Considerable research has documented that there are educational benefits to play, White notes.