Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
Art Specialist Intern
The Smithsonian Early Explorers (SEE) program is a family program where young children from 18 months to 2 year old come to the museum with their caregivers twice a week. Classes are facilitated using the resources of Smithsonian, visiting different museums every class that relates to the lesson. I had the opportunity to join the last three weeks of class, working with Betsy Bowers, the director of the program, and two other interns, Keri and Melissa.
The classes met on Mondays and Wednesdays at Q?rius Jr. room in the National Museum of Natural History. Upon arrival, children are encouraged to engage with center activities such as sensory experience, blocks, and art. I was able to interact with children during this time working on the playful activities together. Then we have circle time to greet each other and get to know the lesson of the day. After introduction, we get ready to head to one of the museums in the Smithsonian or special locations for the main activity. During the three weeks I joined, we visited the National Air and Space Museum, National Museum of American Indian, the Hirshhorn Museum, Smithsonian Castle, and of course, the National Museum of Natural History. There was also a special trip to the Oxon Hill Farm, which unfortunately I had missed, but where children enjoyed seeing farm animals.
Every class was an insightful moment for me to see how children engage with the museum resources on their own playful way. Although I had only joined the last classes of the year, I sincerely enjoyed getting to know the children and their caregivers. On the third week, one girl's grandmother told me that she had asked "Is Miss Hayon going to be there today?" on the way to class. I was amazed how she remembered my name and anticipated to play with me in spite of our short interactions in class. I am grateful for every moment I experienced within the SEE program and hope to join the class again sometime!
About the internship
I primarily worked with the CIEL team for the first half of my internship, assisting family programs, conferences, class exhibitions and various events. For the next half, I facilitated art activities visiting infants and toddler classes, as well as having studio time every afternoon with preschool level children.