Hands-on Discovery Museum
Award-Winning Children's Museum
Habitot Children's Museum was founded by parents and educators
in 1992 to meet the unique needs and interests of infants,
toddlers and preschoolers in a safe and appropriate community
setting. Habitot opened its first facility in downtown Berkeley
in 1998, after six years of community outreach and fundraising. Mission History
Habitot Children’s Museum has become the most popular
and award-winning children’s hands on discovery museum in the East Bay.
Habitot founders have created a hands-on play and learning
center where young children are the "big kids"— exploring the arts and culture in a safe setting designed
especially for small hands and bodies and growing minds.
We Envision Expanding Habitot Children's Museum
Today, Habitot Children's Museum is at a crossroads. Our rented,
basement-level museum in downtown Berkeley is filled to capacity
and there is no room to grow. The need is great for a larger,
more enriching museum to serve families with young children. Current Strategic Plan
To fulfill its vision, Habitot must find a new home. Habitot’s
Board of Directors is actively working toward moving the museum
into its own larger, stand-alone facility in the next three
to five years. We estimate that it will cost five to seven
million dollars to secure and build out the new museum.
Alumni Board Advisory Board
Why is Habitot So Needed in the East Bay?
- No other Bay Area community institution exists exclusively to meet the needs and
interests of infants, toddlers and preschoolers, 0-6 years old.
- 180,000 children under 6 years of age live in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
- Development in the early years depends on young children’s exposure to
novel and stimulating experiences, caring, engaged adults, and safe and nurturing
- Reductions in community services, declining public school budgets, diminished family resources, parents working two jobs and long hours, prevalence of overextended preschools, parents’ reliance on inexperienced child care providers and a host of other societal concerns create a need for a community institution that supports early childhood learning, parenting success and community connection.
Habitot Benefits Young Children
With a year round program of interactive exhibits, hands-on art programs, educational classes, multicultural events and performances, a Child Safety Campaign, a year-round early literacy component, a toy lending library, and daily opportunities for social interaction with other children and with their parents and care givers.
- The museum's multisensory and thematic exhibits foster curiosity, problem solving, social interaction and communication skills.
- They help young children learn about their world, whether it's the corner grocery, or a river, or a rocketship.
- Using the exhibits gives young children a sense of accomplishment and self-confidence. Some babies took their first steps here, other young children practice new language skills saying 'Habitot, Habitot', and the phrase "I can do it!" is heard over and over again within the museum.
Habitot Builds Better Families
With parenting classes, parent support groups, a family resource center, educational signage, parent-to-parent brochures, Family Art Days, and countless opportunities for informal connections between diverse families.
Habitot Engages the Community
With a youth employment program that hires financial aid college students and at-risk high school students, employs local artists and performers, hires sign makers, builders, and other trades people, employs free-lance music and art teachers, places community service volunteers, and engages seniors in parent-to-parent programs.
Habitot Benefits Schools
With teacher training programs and direct services to public school districts and both public and private preschools with T.E.A.C.H. Reach (professional development series) and Art Reach which brings art activities to children in the community who rarely get to do art. The area's elementary schools benefit greatly from enrolling children of museum members and frequent visitors arrive at kindergarten with social and intellectual skills and are ready to learn.
With 65,000 visitors every year, bringing families pushing strollers to the downtown area, who in turn support local merchants and restaurants, and humanize the face of our city.
Habitot is Inclusive
With a family outreach program that brings over 6,000 low income and special needs visitors to the museum… homeless children who rarely have playful childhood experiences, teen parents who need to learn the art of parenting, disabled children who join the mainstream of other children, immigrant families who make their first American friends here. These families diversify and broaden Habitot's audience, breaking down social and class barriers, and make it possible for families from all walks of life to find common ground in the raising of young children.
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