The Children’s Museum of Jordan is the realization of a personal dream of mine for Jordan’s children …
it is a place where they can come together, play, laugh, and make new friends. A place where imaginations are lit, ideas sparked, and connections made.
Looking around the exhibits, I was reminded of a song I first heard as a child (and I am not going to sing it, so you will just have to listen carefully to the lyric)
"Fly me to the moon
And let me play among the stars
Let me see what spring is like
On Jupiter and Mars…"
I have always loved that song. But for the longest time, the lyrics seemed purely metaphorical – a playful, abstract fantasy of exploring something new.
Now, the words have taken on a new meaning. Because, now, I do not have to fly to the moon. Here, I can don an astronaut’s suit and stand on the moon. And when I am there, I can probably see what spring is like on Jupiter and Mars, too, because they are right there in front of me!
And that is the joy of this museum… nothing remains abstract for long. Children who come through these doors, will learn by playing, touching, thinking, digging, climbing, pulling, pushing, driving, flying, racing, building, sorting and solving …all at their own pace… among the brightly colored and interactive exhibits.
And if you are thinking that all this sounds familiar, that is because the goals of the children’s museum complement much broader goals for Jordan’s children—I am talking about our efforts to reinvigorate and reform our public schools.
Just as the Ministry of Education encourages our youngest citizens to question, create and debate…so the museum stimulates young minds.
While the Ministry trains our teachers to explore new interactive, child-centered methods…the museum will help them develop and bring their lesson plans to life.
As the Ministry equips our classrooms with technologies so that our children can learn about the world, and the world can learn about our children, here at the museum, our young explorers can globetrot, and stamp their passports as they go.
And as the Ministry revises our national curricula to be more modern, balanced, and in tune with today’s world…one glance around our museum will make it clear that Jordan is on top of current trends.
In short, we are pushing the boundaries of education, within and beyond the classroom… because we want our most precious citizens to grow up equipped with the knowledge, skills, strategies, and values that will allow them to excel in a fast-paced and competitive world.
And I am delighted that the Children’s Museum, through its school support program, will be an integral partner in that process.
In fact, there are so many wonderful parts to this project…and so many more on the horizon. Now that we have passed this milestone, we must turn our attention to the journey ahead…and take the magic of this museum on the road bringing our traveling treasures to all regions of Jordan… There is much to do. And I have faith that we can do it.
This is a new kind of museum, where instead of preserving artifacts and treasures behind glass, it invites children to experience its wonders for themselves. We work together for the children we love… and for future generations of children, whose faces we will never see. Because we know, in the words of the poet Khalil Gibran, that children ‘are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself’.
Rania Al Abdullah