Learning center

Display honors 50th anniversary of UWM Children’s Learning Center

Golda Meir Library Helps Celebrate 50and anniversary of the UWM Children’s Learning Center with a history exhibit on the second floor.

The exhibit was put together by Rona Kader Wolfe, social justice educator at the children’s center, along with archivist Abigail Nye and library staff.

Rona Kader Wolfe, social justice educator at the UWM Children’s Learning Center, reads to children next to an exhibit about the center at the Golda Meir Library. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

It highlights the origins of the center and its roots in the need for on-campus child care in the early 1970s as more women came to college and prepared to enter the workforce. Looking back has helped Wolfe see the connections between the work she does now as a social justice educator and the center’s past, she said.

“It’s fun to learn more about the history of the center, but digging into the why at that time was very interesting for me. It had a radical start,” Wolfe said.

The center grew out of the needs of student families for child care and early learning. “It was important to learn not just where we came from, but why,” Wolfe said. “What were people looking for? What was important? What were the big ideas? »

Children listen while a book is read. (UWM Photo/Elora Hennessey)

One of the elements of the exhibition is an excerpt from a parent’s essay which summarizes it: “The time had come and the idea would not be refused.”

The exhibition brings together items from the university’s archives as well as materials stored at the center. Among the exhibits in the exhibition, for example, letters to the administration of the university on how to make space the necessary center and the importance of the center in helping students continue their studies.

Wolfe is an alumnus with a degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education. Her mother, Cheryl Kader, was on the women’s and gender studies faculty, and two of Wolfe’s four children are graduates and another is currently a student. “We are a Panther family.”

Some of the children currently at the center visited the exhibit recently, taking the opportunity to enjoy Wolfe reading some children’s books from 50 years ago – ‘Ira Sleeps Over’ and ‘The Snowy Day’. The books give an idea of ​​what people thought in terms of families and values ​​at the time, Wolfe said. The children who listened to them half a century later were captivated.

The exhibit will be open during library hours until the end of the spring semester.