Developing creativity, social and emotional abilities, learning about arts, literature, history, English and even biology are just a few of the educational programmes offered to schoolchildren at MO Museum. What is special about these classes and why do children need them?
“The museum is a great place to strengthen emotional children’s abilities. Emotions and art are very closely related. By perceiving emotions induced by works of art, children become more aware of the diversity of their own as well as others’ emotions,” says Ieva Dulinskaitė, Psychologist at the Children Support Centre and Educator at MO Museum.
Educating emotional intelligence as early as possible
Emotional intelligence training activities at MO are for schoolchildren of all ages, both pupils from primary schools as well as adolescents.
“Currently, our school education system is still mainly focused on the development of intellectual children’s skills. Little attention is paid to the field of feelings and emotions. After all, it is the ability to realise one’s feelings, resist impulsive behaviour, empathically understand the needs of others and successfully resolve conflicts that enable children to build better relationships and better adapt to society,” Dulinskaitė notes.
She also adds that children are taught both to recognise their feelings and thoughts and to understand how they affect their own behaviour. “Children develop empathy and the ability to look at the situation from another person’s perspective, they learn to listen, collaborate and act together,” the psychologist keeps listing the skills that can be developed during the educational activities.
Biology lessons at museum
Nowadays, the fact that it is possible to develop creativity and emotional intelligence at museums is no longer questioned. In addition, integrated lessons can be provided at the museum. MO educators and specialists of different fields have prepared integrated lessons of art, literature, history, English and even biology. How are these lessons different from traditional ones and what can children learn in a biology lesson at the museum?
“Based on the knowledge which pupils have already accumulated at school, a biology lesson begins with a common theory part including the process of evolution, the interrelationship between species, the role of humankind in the natural world. Then children analyse works of art and link theoretical knowledge with the images and situations they observe in these works,” Justina Kaminskaitė, Educator at MO, introduces what an integrated biology lessons look like.
Integrated biology lessons at MO Museum began when the museum opened the exhibition Animal – Human – Robot. “We adapt educational activities to every new big exhibition. So the topic of the current major exhibition Animal – Human – Robot naturally led to the idea of integrated biology lessons,” says Rima Povilionytė, Project Manager of Education at MO.
There are several different kinds of integrated biology lessons at MO Museum, all adapted to schoolchildren of different ages, children from both primary and secondary schools. At the museum, they study biology on the following topics: “Animals in the City”, “Nutrition Chains”, “Adaptation to Survival” and “Visiting the Red Queen, or Coevolution”.
Teachers caught by surprise
According to educators at MO Museum, children find these different kinds of lessons and activities in the museum very interesting. They speak openly about emotions and sometimes, even to their teachers’ surprise, link the knowledge they have gained at school with other contexts.
“Children are very eager to participate, they are curious and active. They take the invitation to talk about feelings very naturally which even comes as a surprise to adults or teachers. They tell about and share their difficult and painful experiences. I think children just have to get some space for sharing their experiences and they use it boldly,” Dulinskaitė asserts.
Biology educator at MO also shares some of the teachers’ observations. “Teachers watch their pupils and are pleased not only with their ability to insightfully apply their knowledge of biology. Children also develop their public speaking skills and even some surprise their teachers by courageously and fluently presenting works of art to their friends,” she says.