Young Children Explore the World: Seriously Amazing Experiences at the Smithsonian

Presenters: Kimberlee Kiehl and Ann Caspari
Young children are careful observers, ask millions of questions, actively search for information, experiment and test new ideas, and are not at all shy about communicating their ideas. Through photos, stories, and interactive experiences, participants learn how the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, a lab school located within the walls of the Smithsonian Institution, is providing opportunities to grow and nurture these skills in a way that can be replicated in museums and schools across the country.

Kimberlee Kiehl, Executive Director, Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center
Kimberlee Kiehl assumed the role of executive director of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center (SEEC) in July 2012. The lab school, serving 135 children ages 2 months through kindergarten, operates in two sites—one in the National Museum of Natural History and one in the National Museum of American History. Prior to coming to SEEC, Kiehl was the chief strategy and operations officer at the Center Of Science and Industry (COSI), a large science museum in Columbus, Ohio, for 12 years. There she was responsible for both developing and implementing the strategic plan of the institution, as well as conceptualizing and managing partnerships with various community organizations. While at COSI, Kiehl participated in the start-up of Metro High School in partnership with Battelle and Ohio State University (OSU), and was responsible for organizing a number of STEM partnerships between OSU and COSI. She went to COSI after being an associate professor and director of the A. Sophie Rogers Lab School at OSU for 12 years. She was a Noyce Foundation Leadership Fellow from 2010 to 2011. Kiehl received her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialty in Early Childhood from Penn State University. She holds an MS in Special Education from the College of St. Rose and a BS in Speech Pathology and Audiology from SUNY Geneseo.

Ann Caspari, Early Childhood Education Specialist, Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
Ann Caspari develops and teaches early childhood programming for school and family audiences at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. She teaches professional development for early childhood teachers in District of Columbia Schools, focusing on using inquiry science methods to teach physical science to children ages 3 to 5. As a school programs coordinator at the National Building Museum, Caspari developed and taught STEM programming related to the built environment for preschool and school-aged audiences. At the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Maryland, she developed and taught programs for school and family audiences about paleontology and the estuarine biology of the Chesapeake Bay. Caspari has served on the Board of Directors of the Museum Education Roundtable. She received her BA from Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and her MAT through the Museum Education Program at George Washington University in Washington, DC.