This article presents an overview of family learning at the Children’s Museum of Houston. Based on educational theory, and designed to support learning literacy and success in school, Museum programs provide parents with tools to help them nurture children’s intellectual development. The goal of this work is for parents to become better prepared to confidently engage their children in fun and meaningful learning experiences. The long-term benefits include strengthening family relationships and preparing children for success in secondary school and in the workplace.

Key Take Away Points

The Museum’s Tenets for Family Learning: three interconnected elements underlie the Museum’s support of parents as their children’s earliest teachers.

  • Increasing parenting self-confidence
  • Providing educational resources
  • Fostering deep engagement

Museum Parent Education Programs

  • Family Literacy Involvement Program (FLIP): FLIP is a city-wide system of 2,080 literacy kits loaned through 35 branches of the Houston Public Library. Each FLIP Kit includes a book and a description of a related activity, for which all of the needed materials are provided.
  • Para los Niños: The Para los Niños program consists of workshops facilitated in libraries and community centers in locations across Houston, Harris, and Fort Bend Counties. Focused on reaching Spanish-speaking parents, participants learn and practice methods of igniting the interests of their young children in reading and involving them in educational activities.
  • Parent Stars: This bilingual outreach program is delivered in elementary schools and early childhood centers. Through two program frameworks – large Family Learning Events and smaller Parent Workshops, parents engage in activities designed to improve their ability to build children’s learning literacy and associated success in school.

Author Biography

Shannon Bishop is the Manager of Evaluation and Research at the Children’s Museum of Houston.

Cheryl McCallum is the Director of Education at the Children’s Museum of Houston.