Major Grants and Partnerships

Children’s Museum of Manhattan: Eat Sleep Play

The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) uses creativity and the arts to help kids learn, express, and grow. The Illumination Fund has enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with CMOM with Laurie Tisch acting as a key partner in its inception and growth over the past several decades. Laurie continues to remain involved as the honorary chair of the Museum and as co-chair of the campaign to build CMOM’s new home adjacent to Central Park.

The Illumination Fund played a catalytic role in supporting the development of CMOM’s health education programs, exhibitions and early childhood development curriculum.

The Illumination Fund’s support in 2009 enabled CMOM to hire a health educator which launched a major new focus on childhood health. CMOM’s Health Education Initiative was designed to motivate and inspire children and families in New York City to maintain healthy and active lifestyles in order to prevent childhood obesity. In November 2011, CMOM transformed the initiative into EatSleepPlay™: Building Health Every Day, an exhibit that enables children (ages 2-10) and their families to experience interactive ways to create a healthier lifestyle together. All activities and information are based on the latest medical and behavioral research and are linked to most important elements of a child’s day.

The exhibit was designed to be replicated at smaller museums and community centers. CMOM recreated elements of the exhibition at Children’s Museum Health and Learning Hubs in more than thirty Head Start Centers and Department of Homeless Services Family Shelters throughout the city, making them epicenters of lifelong learning, healthy childhood development, and community collaboration.

The initiative also includes a new early childhood obesity prevention curriculum; family health programs at the Museum; obesity prevention outreach programs in high-need communities; professional development programs for childcare providers, health professionals and teachers; and evaluation findings that will help inform policy and practice.

A set of four research studies evaluating the efficacy of CMOM’s early childhood obesity prevention curriculum and program model for use with low-income children, families and adults who work with young children shows significant statistical behavioral changes in food selection and observational and reported increases in exercise and appropriate amounts of sleep. The evidence suggests the success of the program is rooted in four core areas: working with young children at an age when habits are formed; working with families; using a pedagogy that employs cognitive and affective learning techniques; and connecting family activities to community-based programs, such as Head Start. In addition, the research suggests that CMOM and its partners have created a program model of complementary components that can guide future policy, research and community-based initiatives.

For the final report, visit Final Report: Evaluation of the EatSleepPlay™ Program Integrating Findings from 2010 ‐ 2012 (Michael Cohen Group LLC)