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The Power of Play in Learning with Arthur G Affleck III from the Association of Children’s Museums

Arthur G Affleck III, Executive Director for the Association of Children’s Museums, shares his organization’s mission to support children and families to learn through play, with the importance of this work in lives and to society.

Show notes


Angie Judge: Hello and welcome to the Data Diaries, I’m your host Angie Judge of Dexibit. Today I am here with Arthur G Affleck III, Executive Director of the Association of Children’s Museums. Welcome Arthur.

Arthur Affleck: Thank you for having me.

Angie Judge: Now the children’s museum field is one of the fastest growing cultural in industries in the world. And ACM is its international nonprofit for representation and advocacy. It has over 480 organizations and members across 16 countries and 50 states. And Arthur is very well known in the industry for his achievements in education administration, institutional advancement and nonprofit governance, centering diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. Before ACM, he served as EVP at the American Alliance of Museums. And he currently serves on several nonprofit boards, including for the International Council of Museums who just had their annual meeting in Prague. Plus Bottom Line, New York, Crystal Bridges, and Playful Learning Landscapes. And he’s also an accomplished author too. That’s quite the resume Arthur!

Arthur Affleck: Well, thank you.

Angie Judge: Thank you for taking the time out of that very busy lineup to join us here. Today is a very special topic that I’m really looking forward to. Because as of a few months back, I joined the parents’ club and it’s really got me thinking about my own parenting style and how we want to approach education. We’re going to talk about the ‘power of play’ in children’s learning and experiences and cultural institutions and beyond, and how the work of the Association of Children’s Museums is not just representing the interests of their museums, but changing the way children learn, which is a really big departure from the ‘desks set in rows’ that we all grew up with and an incredibly powerful mission. And when we were exchanging ideas ahead of today, Arthur shared with me a great quote by the late great Fred Rogers. That “Play is the real work of childhood”. And he also went on to specifically say, this is Rogers speaking, “That children’s museums offer play experiences that other settings are not able to give them.” That’s quite the ultimate endorsement for your work I imagine!

Arthur Affleck: Yes. Yes. And I just should say that some years ago in 1996, actually ACM gave Fred Rogers, our ‘Friend of Kids’ award, and he gave the talk and the keynote address and shared some of those thoughts, but we give that award out every year. So we were thrilled that Mr. Rogers would come and, and obviously knew he shares our love of children and love of play.

Angie Judge: You must get this a lot, but perhaps you can set us off with what a children’s museum actually is. And, how does it differ from other museums?

Arthur Affleck: So first we like to talk about the four dimensions of children’s museums. First as local destinations. Second as educational laboratories. Third as community resources and fourth as advocates for children. Now a more traditional definition I could give is a place where people come together, children and families, to understand the world and their place in it. Some museums do that through art, others, through natural science specimens. And children’s museums do it through immersive play based hands on experiences. So that is how we differ from a museum that focuses more on collections.

Angie Judge: And what led you to your role as ED at ACM?

Arthur Affleck: So very interesting. I have always, for most of my career, worked in education in higher education. As a matter of fact, I originally wanted to be a school teacher, a science teacher. I went to college for biology pre-med, but wound up going to graduate school for a degree in higher education leadership, and then to law school. And after a few years, working at a law firm decided to get back into education where I felt more fulfilled. And every university where I worked the last 10, 15 years had a museum. And I loved those museums. And so the opportunity came about six years ago to work at the American Alliance of Museums. And I jumped at the opportunity and it was a great experience there for six years. My last role, as you mentioned, was Executive Vice President. And then for the last six months, I had been the Executive Director of the wonderful Association of Children’s Museums.

Angie Judge: And what are some of the sort of current opportunities or challenges, the work that you’re facing right now?

Arthur Affleck: We are emerging from the pandemic. So as an organization working to, I’m look at my team and building my team. You may recall the book ‘Good to Great’, which said, those who build great organizations, make sure they have the right people on the bus and in the right seats. So I’m looking at my team and I have a very strong team, but we’re looking at roles and responsibilities. And so we’ll be making some changes there and then we’re going to grow the team. We’re hiring additional people because the demand for our services is greater than ever. But some of the challenges that, that we also have – technology, we’re upgrading our technology. We’ll be bringing on a new database for us, but when it comes to the children’s museums, some of the challenges they’re having. We spent a lot of time doing virtual work and now that we are focused on in person work and some of them are not fully back in terms of staffing, 100%, they’re struggling to say, how do we fully give the in person experience yet not lose all of the great work we did in the virtual space? So that’s one challenge. Staffing is a challenge – hiring and retaining staff – because we are not able to pay right as high as some other entities. So that’s a challenge. We’re facing funding as a challenge. We have to work harder for revenue and support because when you have a pandemic and people have medical challenges and people are unhoused and people have food insecurity, a lot of charity kind of shifted a little bit for those resources, but we make the case that man or woman does not live by bread alone, that we must feed our souls and our children and adults need access to culture and the arts to behold. And in fact, if you think about the mental health crisis, we know that we are even more important as children’s museums that is to the children and families than ever before, because while we don’t solve those problems, we ameliorate those symptoms because when children play they’re joyful and in the process they’re learning and families are engaging and we can see that they are having a very positive emotional, mental and physical experience in our museums. So we are vital and we must fight for those resources, just like every other organization. We’re thrilled to be here. The challenges are not as many as the opportunities. We have many great opportunities that I’m very excited about.

Angie Judge: And what is the science and the data behind this say what, what supports the value proposition of play and play based learning?

Arthur Affleck: There is a lot of data and information around play and play based learning. I will start with an article since your podcast is all about data, right? So I’m going to refer to an article called ‘A New Path to Education Reform, Playful Learning Promotes 21st Century Skills in Schools.’ And this 2020 paper has 150 references, to back it up and support it. And this paper was written by one of my colleagues and friends, Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and her colleague, but essentially they start out by talking about the American education system, just not preparing all children to thrive. So that’s a big challenge right there. The data shows that in the science of learning, narrow content focused education, the didactic method, is insufficient, works for some, but is insufficient. And so we’re calling for scalable evidence based education that puts student engagement, educate expertise, and equity at the center. And so we believe that play and play-based learning and the data shows it helps students and teachers make learning more active, engaging, meaningful, socially interactive, iterative, and even joyful. And when it’s joyful for the students and for the teachers, not only do the students learn, but the teachers are better retained. So that’s one, and I’ll give you another reference for play-based learning and, and another endorsement. And that is the American Academy of Pediatrics. They put out an article, many articles, but there’s one that, that I referenced and it’s called ‘The Power of Play, a Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development of Young Children.’ And so that article talks about the fact that children need to develop a variety of skill sets to optimize their development and to manage toxic stress. Basically research demonstrates that development developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote social, emotional, cognitive language self-regulation skills, et cetera. So lots of references from the medical field, from academics, from teachers that play in play based learning is the way and from none other than Fred Rogers.

Angie Judge: It’s incredible. Especially following a couple of years where our kids have been learning in front of screens, really. And it’s so different to being able to sit and play with each other. And you mentioned equity in there. How does this whole approach address some of those inequities that we face in early childhood education?

Arthur Affleck: We believe that learning through play is accessible to every child, to all students, to all families. It’s not based on your income level, it’s not based on your zip code. It is based on the ability of the institution of the school, of the museum to implement this methodology. And, and we find that play based learning can be made to be culturally sensitive and culturally specific, because play is viewed differently in different parts of the country, different parts of the world. They view play a little differently, but play-based learning can be moulded and modified to be culturally specific and therefore help students to be engaged. I’ll give you an example of that. If you are from, maybe your cultural background is from Latin America. Well, there are things in that culture that animates children and families. So one way to get to play and feel comfortable is to play some games that they would be familiar with from that culture to reference, you know, some of the characters from that culture that would be of interest. And you can do that with every culture, whether it’s African American or whether it’s, you know, Asian or what have you. And so when we work with schools and we are talking about our academic partners and museum educators, we always look at how we can make sure that we are creating culturally appropriate kinds of opportunities for children to engage and to play. And then the other part of play, you know, play comes on a spectrum, you know, there’s free play and there’s an argument for free play because we believe play is learning full stop. When students are playing, they’re learning, there’s free play, but free play doesn’t have a learning. Children are just doing their thing and having a great time. But we believe guided play is what we use in museums. More often where the child does indeed have agency and is actively engaged and involved, but you have an educator or a museum staff member kind of guiding the child toward a learning objective. So it’s still fun. It’s still engaging, but there’s learning going on. And at the other end of spectrum of play and learning is direct. Instruction, you know, where students are sitting down, they’re being told what to do and how to play. And that we think is not the best way to go about it because we need children to have agency. We need them to have the feeling that they’re making decisions about how they want to play and just, and, and they can be guided then in ways that make play even more important and even more meaningful. So that. That’s uh, what I would say about why we, we know that more equity can be achieved if playful learning is utilized. And we can see that in, you know, some of the data as well.

Angie Judge: That’s so interesting. When you talk about sort of the cultural elements of play, and one of the things where I come from in Aotearoa or New Zealand, there is a, a respect for food, which means that it can be  somewhat offensive to have children playing with food, which is quite common in the Western world. You know, you think about things like play-doh, or making macaroni sculptures or playing with rice. But here that’s very different. So it’s really good to hear that be incorporated as part of this view on play-based learning. And Arthur, I understand your team are working on a new strategic plan? Can you share any of that in terms of your preliminary findings or some of the priorities that are coming out of that work?

Arthur Affleck: Yes. So we are, we should have this plan done by the end of the year. It’s been fascinating to move around the country and to receive input from our members, from education leaders, from our board members and others. Right now we’re emerging, we have four major priorities that are on the draft plan. And the first of those priorities is that we will continue to support the children’s museum community as, as a membership organization. That’s critical through convening and resources and connecting and research, et cetera, but a new plank that was not in the last plan is that we will have a separate priority focused on children and families providing indirect and services through our members, but also direct advocacy and work from the association. And I should say, Angie, this second plank came out of the awful experience that we all learned about and with the Uvalde shooting, when all of those children were lost in that school, meant some of our board members came together to say, it’s not enough that we champion our mission statement. Our current mission statement says we champion children’s museums worldwide. It’s not enough that we champion children’s museums. We have to champion children and families, and we have to fight for them to be safe wherever they are. So for example, our current mission statement, you know, says we champion children, children’s museums worldwide, the emerging mission statement, the draft mission statement says, “ACM champions children’s museums and empowers children to play, learn and thrive safely in these vital shared spaces worldwide”. So that’s a shift that we are going to do more to advocate, not just for children to play and learn, but also to thrive safely in these vital spaces in museums or schools. Which means that we will, I’ve had conversations with the boys and girls clubs of America. I have conversations with other organizations that we won’t go with alone, but we will join with other organizations advocating on behalf of children to be safe funding for schools. We’re gonna fight with others for universal pre-K, all of those things that we know make a big difference. And I know at some point you’ll let me share some data. You know, school readiness and, and why it’s so important that we, we have this early childhood education, but let me finish responding to your question. The two other planks in our strategic plan. So one was the children, museum, community, two children and families. Advocacy policy and research and advocacy is so critical. We work with federal government educating, sharing information, making sure they continue to financially support the museum community. We have museums advocacy day, every year, working with AAM and other associations. And we have been successful in maintaining funding for our museums. And the last one is strengthening the organization, that we will work to strengthen ACM as an organization. So we can be more impactful to our members, provide more direct services, children and families generate more revenue to offset the work that, that we are doing and to hire and retain more staff. So all of that is in our new plan, but the newest plan is, and I’m excited about this work to think about how we can do more direct work with children and families.

Angie Judge: This is such a radical leap and it’s such an amazing vision to have. And you mentioned the origins of that an absolutely horrific situation, but it does go on to highlight the need for this safety of our kids. But, and not only that, but the children that grow up to experience problems through their early years and the impacts to society that that sort of creates, these shootings that have taken place. The people who are the offenders in that situation are, are young people themselves. Aren’t they, in, in many cases, Arthur, you mentioned some of the, the data that are coming out of some of these elements, the statistics on how kids are ready for a kindergarten and the relationship of how we set up our kids to enter the academic system and then the socioeconomic trajectory that, that sets them on. If they essentially learn to hate learning and then never catch up, what does the impact of that problem look like in data?

Arthur Affleck: A child’s learning, and it’s not every parent just doesn’t know this, but a child’s learning from birth to five is critical. It determines their kindergarten starting point. Students who enter kindergarten behind have a monumental undertaking to catch up with their classmates. And so the data show that one in four kindergarteners are not ready to learn. Some of this comes out of the Pritzker Family Foundation report: low income black and brown children are almost two in four, almost 50%, approaching, kindergarten, not quite ready to learn. For students who enter kindergarten one or two or three years behind, it is very difficult to make sufficient progress, to move up even one level without a massive amount of intervention. So, so, you know, we are hopeful. We believe all children can and will improve. Right. But for those who enter kindergarten, the data shows 75% will never catch up to their classmates. This means that each child’s kindergarten starting point matters. And this is according to the Children’s Reading Foundation data: that we have got to get more children ready for kindergarten. So children’s museums play a vital role in facilitating play and many school readiness programs exist to address this pressing challenge. And so we plan to do more in that regard. I remember being in the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia and seeing that very wonderful school readiness program that just gets these kids ready so that they have socio-emotional skills. They have executive function skills, self-regulation skills. So they show up to school with literacy, numeracy, self control to the extent that they can indeed learn. And the point you made earlier that breaks my heart is that we know that if children are not prepared for school and they get to school, and spend years behind, school becomes painful because every day you are found out to be unprepared. You can’t answer the questions you can’t keep up. And the minute they get old enough to be able to drop out, we see millions of kids dropping out of school every year and they become, unfortunately, those young people that often get into difficulty and get into trouble. And the data show that a high percentage, 75%, if not more, of convicted felons in prison are people who dropped out of school didn’t have a good school experience. So we know that the dire consequences to society for not paying more attention to early learning. And our goal is to advocate for more, to do more within our institutions and to partner with others who also understand this.

Angie Judge: And that’s not just about crime, is it? Because in the last few years we’ve seen mental health for both adults and kids become more front of mind  for our society and indeed more pressing, how does play help with that?

Arthur Affleck: And you are exactly right. The two crises, one is mental health crisis. The other is the early learning crisis, but they’re related, right? They’re definitely related. So, and I think it was the in readings from the American Pediatric Association talking about the fact that play is good for the physical, the mental, the social, and the academic growth and development of children. And there are studies that show how young people who are allowed to play as the American Pediatric Association said, it helps the toxic stress that they experience in their lives, that we can’t avoid some stress. But what the data show is that if children are allowed to be in those environments, where they can release that stress by playing freely and even through guided play with facilitators, but also playing with parents, the other benefit of play that supports mental health for parents and that playing museums and our museums is intergenerational. I was in with the Louisiana Children’s team a few weeks ago. And saw a grandfather with his daughter with his granddaughter in this play space, watching the granddaughter, you know, a toddler playing and he reported, he just volunteered to me, “We come here twice a week. She loves it and she’s learning so much and having so much fun.” So all of that, he felt great, he felt pride. The mother felt good and the child was having a great time. So, you know, we need to do more of this and provide more of this feeling. And again, it doesn’t solve the problem if you will, of mental health. But we also are beginning to work with our members to have trauma informed programming so that while we can’t solve the challenges when we, but we need to be able to identify trauma in families and in children and be able to help parents and families to services that can help them. And then also to train our staffs and we’re working to do that. So that again, you know, we, we have programming to say, first of all, it’s okay to be a little anxious. It’s okay to be concerned when things are happening in society, that nothing is wrong with that, but here’s how we process trauma. And certainly coming out of eval, more museums have been in programs, bringing in experts, bringing in social scientists, bringing in psychologists, bringing in others into the museum to talk about how we process trauma and all of that. And all of that helps with some of the mental health challenges that we’re seeing among children and families. And sadly, that is not going to go away tomorrow. They will be more. Tragedy, sadly in America, and in the world. So we just have to help children and families become more resilient. And that’s the goal of ours.

Angie Judge: And what are some of the other ways that the children’s museums are engaging with parents and other caregivers?

Arthur Affleck: So one of the exciting programs that I love is, a number of our museums have these, programs called ‘The First 1,000 Days’. And these programs, we understand that parents really are the first teachers of children. And if we can help parents understand how they can facilitate play in their home, how they can facilitate brain development in their children, the children will be so much more successful. So in collaboration with researchers and scientists and health professionals, artists, and educators, some of our museums have designed a support system to help parents navigate the first three years of this parenting journey. And so they come into the museum for programming and then they’re given tools and resources to take. So they can do some things at home. So that’s exciting evidence based collaborative with community resources. And that’s one of those programs that we want to expand to throughout the country to make sure that we are doing all we can because if we don’t start early with these children’s first 1,000 days, first three years, and then the first five years, you know, we give children a chance if we do that well.  So that’s a program that I think is, is exceptional, that, that we will do more.

Angie Judge: It all sounds like it makes a lot of clear sense, but I know it’s, it’s always hard to get everyone to recognize the value of change like this, particularly when it is quite dramatic from the traditional ways that generations have learned before that, is this an obvious way that the world is heading or do you have to really work to convince parents, teachers, government officials that we need to do things differently?

Arthur Affleck: I think it’s getting easier. It’s becoming more acceptable  for play to be accepted. And one of the things that helps I think is that we have not only children’s museums, not only academics, not only the American Pediatric Association saying this. But their corporations and foundations, like Lego that truly believe in the power of play and that promote play and that support with their resources and their programming play and play strategies. For example, as you know, I visited the Famous Lego House recently. And one of the Lego foundation’s aim is to redefine play and to reimagine learning. And they’re working toward, as in their words, the future where learning through play empowers children to be creative, engaged life, long learners. So we have allies, an increasing numbers of allies, and we will partner with Lego. We will partner with academics, we’ll partner with all these other organizations that want to do this. And superintendents, I’ve met with superintendents because helping them to convince parents and other teachers that this is, this is important. And if time permits, I’d love to chat about the New Hampshire program that I think is going to, to make a, make a difference. But I think it’s getting better. People are recognizing the importance of play and especially coming out of the pandemic where children were pent up in their homes, parents and others are realizing, kids have got to get out, they’ve got to play. They can’t be, you know, kept cooped up on these screens or in, in homes all day.

Angie Judge: Tell us about New Hampshire what’s happening up there?

Arthur Affleck: So one of the great things that happened in New Hampshire, a parent who believed in play and the value of it wound up running for office and became a legislator. And then she introduced legislation to say, we ought to have play and play based learning for pre-K and kindergartens in New Hampshire and lo and behold, it was passed. So it is now a law in the state of New Hampshire. But to implement play based learning in the pre-K in kindergarten classes, they decided to bring in the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. They also brought in professors from the university of New Hampshire and one of my colleagues, Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Dr. Kimberly Nesbitt from the University of New Hampshire, Kathy’s from Temple University and they put together a program to train coaches who would then go into the classroom and train teachers and work with teachers in the classroom on how to implement a play based approach to their curriculum. They’re not trying to change their curriculum, just implementing play based techniques. And I went up to New Hampshire. I met with the educators, I met with the children’s museum and that I went to some of these schools, sat on the floor with these kids and saw the joy in them And it works. It works. And so we are going keep looking at the data from New Hampshire. I may have mentioned, I went to California, met with the superintendent of Los Angeles unified school district the great  Alberto Carlo, and he’s doing great work there. He said, he’s interested in doing more round play and play based learning. And there are many others. And so we believe that this New Hampshire model will be carried forward. I was in Washington. And met with legislators there and they said they willing to take a look at what more can be done there. We actually have an event coming up, another event in Washington State and Seattle. So we think it’s gaining momentum and we’ll see other models like New Hampshire and each state might do it a little differently. And that’s okay because it has to be state specific, culturally specific, but the idea is to bring more play and for learning techniques into schools and into communities.

Angie Judge: And in doing that work, what is the role of the museum in changing how children learn and, and has this sort of shifted as a result of the pandemic, has, has the last couple of years changed that role?

Arthur Affleck: So, I don’t know that the last couple years has changed the role except that what it has done is that it has made the role that much more important and that much more relevant and clear. Let me give you one story during the pandemic. One of the things that many of our museums did was when children were cooped up in their homes, couldn’t go to schools. Couldn’t come into the museums, is that they created kits. That would help children learn. And with the support of their families. One story was the Children’s Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. They created over 4,000 thinker player, creator boxes for an entire school district’s kindergarters because those families and children were really struggling on with online work. As a result, the district saw that when the kids got their boxes, the dropout rate among families slowed dramatically. Also one of the parents told the district that the materials in the box were the first time the child ever had their own book, scissors and crayons, the first time. So that’s just one example. Hundreds of museums did stuff like that during the pandemic. And so coming out of the pandemic, we know that and then some became vaccination centers. As you may recall, some became places where you can just get wifi, whatever, that the community needed. Some were food distribution centers. Our museums stepped up, but learning and education was a central way that our museums help families and children. And we’ll continue to do that on going.

Angie Judge: And speaking of that wider museum community, I know for our listeners, they might be from cultural institutions that they’re hosting school groups through their venues, or even from commercial attractions who are appealing to kids, they’ll be wanting to implement some of these ideas around play based learning too. How are you going about sharing the work of your team for others?

Arthur Affleck: So we share in a variety of ways. Number one, we certainly have an annual conference, a really big show and tell, and it’s not just open to children’s museum professionals. We have lots of other folk who come to the conference. In addition, our website provides a lot of information in the form of articles and blog posts and this to other materials. We have a newsletter called hand to hand that newsletter has lots of information. As a matter of fact, the story I told about the museum, in Arizona came out of that hand to hand one of our hand, hand publications. And then for members, we have something called group site where members post question, share challenges, uh, and successes, cetera. And if people want specific information, most of our children’s museums get requests and work with, for example, other community organizations and certainly schools to bring them into the children’s museum to say, this is how we do what we do, and we’re happy to share. So if anyone is in a community with a children’s museum, that children’s museum will welcome that organization in to dialogue about what they can do together and to share inspiration.

Angie Judge: Very cool. And I know some of your work is actually outside of what we traditionally think of as a venue, if you like, or a cultural institution, because you work with cities and public spaces too, through landscapes in some of your work. What does that look like in those other spaces, in terms of learning with play?

Arthur Affleck: So playful learning exists, not only in the classroom, but outside the classroom in what we call these informal learning spaces, museums, a one informal space, but I serve on the board of an organization called Playful Learning Landscapes. And this is an initiative that uniquely blends the science of learning place, making and community cohesion, right? Transforming public and shared spaces into fun and enriched learning hubs for the further development of children, families, and, and communities. And the beautiful thing about the way that works is that these spaces are co-created. So if we agree in a community that a bus stop or basketball court, or a park or playground could be transformed, we work together. We have some ideas. We ask the community, what do you think? What do you want? Parents, children, others, so that they own that space. And it’s different in every city and there’s some international locations. And so this is a young organization, but has already had some successes. And ultimately we believe that certainly play is important for children, and young children, but play is important for all of us, play everywhere. Play throughout our lives, play for adults. There’s data to show that those folk who are playful and who play and who do puzzles and do other things live longer and don’t have as many mental challenges as, as others. So play is good everywhere for all of us.

Angie Judge: Oh, that’s good, Arthur, because I bought my son some baby puzzles the other day. I bought them home and immediately did them, myself, so it’s gonna pay off! And so you just returned from a tour of Europe, I know with ICOM in Prague. And you mentioned Lego there in Denmark, too. What were some of the things you could leave us with that have inspired you recently?

Arthur Affleck: Oh, just first of all, the international conference was great. It was inspiring to, you know, be first of all, Prague was a beautiful city, but to just have presentations on topics like climate change, leadership, diversity governance, resilience from colleagues who are from Kenya or Paris or Australia or California, Brussels, DC. So I met so many colleagues from all around the world, so that was tremendous. That was great to see that we have so much in common with these common goals and objectives. And then I went to London and the great joy there was visiting the wonderful museums in London and meeting with colleagues from cultural institutions and talking about ways that we can collaborate and partner. And so we will be doing more work with them. And then the National Children’s Museum Eureka, talk about inspiration. When I visited, it was a Saturday, the museum was full of children and families having the time of their lives. And one comment from that museum, in the museum, there is a wall of pictures and quotes from their ambassadors, remembering their days in the museum. And one woman who her name is Hannah. She’s a five time para Olympic champion, and she said that Eureka is unique. “Children are just free to go out and explore”, and she wrote, “you’re having fun, great fun, but you’re also learning.” And then many quotes like that from adults now who remember their days. And as I said, my final destination was in Denmark at the Lego house in Denmark and my host there was a wonderful gentleman. Brilliant kind, joyful, gentle. And showed me so many things. Lego’s been doing this for 90 years, and I mentioned Legos on this mission to promote, play and play based learning. So we are there. But one quote I share that inspired me as well from the Lego Museum. And you’ll find these words around the Lego House as well. “Only the best is good enough”. It means we will always strive to do better year after year because the children of this world. How’s that for inspiration!

Angie Judge: What a beautiful note to end on. Thank you so much, Arthur, for sharing all of those incredible worldviews on how learning is changing in different cultures in different places and what we are doing to, uh, further that in the museum field. It’s very, very inspirational.

Arthur Affleck: Can I share one last quote?

Angie Judge: Oh, go ahead.

Arthur Affleck: So I want to leave us with the words of the great Frederick Douglas. Frederick Douglas said “it is far easier to build strong children than to, than to repair broken men and women”. And so let us together work on early learning on play and play based learning to build strong, healthy, productive children, so we won’t have to try to prepare broken men and women, which doesn’t work so well. So thank you and Angie for your time. And I enjoyed so much talking.

Angie Judge: Likewise, a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much, Arthur.

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