Story 03: Birth of Playspace

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Sidebar: First Impression

Written by Jeri Robinson

I felt certain almost immediately that Jeri would bring critical new personal and professional perspectives to the museum—a young, enthusiastic educator who had grown up in the black community and chosen to teach at the Highland Park Free School, which was then an active inner city center of educational experimentation, as was the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts, with which she also had a connection.

She spoke with great clarity about her love for working with both children and parents, which was something we'd begun to do in a modest way and wanted to expand. She knew her child developmental stuff. The fact that Eliot-Pearson was our main competitor for her made that clear.

Her Wheelock background came through strongly in her thoughts about creative teaching and learning. Her early childhood focus nicely complemented the experience of others on the staff at the time, like Bernie and Dottie who worked with older children. Then there was her joyful demeanor and great chuckle—traits sure to make her a pleasure to be around. Of course I was only around twenty-five years old at the time, so in truth I was making much of it up as we went along, proceeding on instinct. So what luck to have had Jeri walk through the door when she did. .

Jim Zien was the director of community services at The Children's Museum from 1970-1981

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