Children's Museum of Richmond Learning

CMoR Learning: Developing Interdisciplinary Partnerships for an Inclusive Learning Community

Carole Ivey, PhD, OTR/L Assistant Professor VCU Department of Occupational Therapy 804-828-3645

Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Occupational Therapy (OT) and School of Education (SOE) Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program, together with Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU (CHoR), have partnered with the Children's Museum of Richmond (CMoR) to address their expressed need to improve access, participation, and learning for all children, including those with disabilities. OT and ECSE faculty and students, as well as staff from CHoR, are working with CMoR in:

  • assessment and adaptation of the physical and learning environment;
  • collaborative training to support the engagement of young children with disabilities and their families; and
  • marketing to the community

This program will enhance the social and learning experiences at CMoR for children with disabilities and their families so that all children, regardless of ability, will discover and continue to engage in inclusive opportunities at the museum. This program is supported through a VCU Council for Community Engagement grant.

Plan Initiatives:

Goal 1: Minimize the physical and learning barriers at CMoR in order to maximize children's learning.

  • Develop a strategic education plan focused on enhancing the learning of all students
  • Enhance the visit experience through the use of assistive technology devices
  • Embed teaching and learning strategies for children with disabilities in CMoR classes

Goals 2: Train early intervention and museum staff to support the engagement of young children with disabilities and their families in the innovative and hands-on learning activities at CMoR.

  • Establish an advisory group designed to oversee the project
  • Provide training on an ongoing basis
  • Develop a system of sustainability for continuing education
  • Conduct pre/post surveys/interviews with professionals and parents
  • Demonstrate evidence-based practices

Goal 3: Provide VCU OT and ECSE students with a unique interdisciplinary learning opportunity that links research to practice, while supporting access to a natural community learning environment.

  • Collaborate with CHoR clinical staff
  • Foster opportunities for graduate level students to serve the CMoR community
  • Enhance student's academic experiences through community services and application

Current support: VCU Council for Community Engagement