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Stay Forever Young at Providence Children's Museum

By Jake Levin

From babies to grandparents, Janella Watson wants everyone who comes through the doors of Providence Children's Museum to play. Watson, who recently moved to Providence in order to take on the role of the Museum's Associate Director, said that she was immediately drawn to the museum's mission and deeply-rooted social service focus.

"There is joyful energy throughout the Museum, thoughtfully-created exhibits built in our shop, and opportunities for families to engage, explore and learn together around every corner," Watson said. "I am excited to contribute my expertise to an organization that plays such a vital role for families throughout Southern New England. And I am even more overjoyed to see my 4-year-old son run, play, learn and grow in our new museum home away from home."

When asked how Providence Children's Museum helps kids perform better in school, Watson cited a clinical study by the American Academy of Pediatrics which states that play is essential to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth. Specifically, kids learn a great deal of foundational skills through concrete actions, such as touching, exploring or manipulating, all of which the Museum provides at an early age.

"We take great pride at being the first stop on the 'learning pathway' for children in this area," Watson said.

As the second-most visited museum in the state, accessibility isn't an issue for families in Rhode Island. Roughly one-third of Museum guests attend at no cost, thanks to several opportunities for free play experience.

The Museum is open to the public from 5 to 8 p.m. every Friday from June through Labor Day. During the school year, the third Friday of every month has free admission hours. Active duty military members and their families also receive free admission, as do those who present a valid SNAP/EBT card, and also individuals enrolled in Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island.

For more, visit childrenmuseum.org/ today.

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