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Minnesota Children's Museum


photo of mother and child

*What does "Wakanheza" mean?

Wakanheza is the Dakota word for "child" and its closest English translation is "sacred being."

The practices and principles of Wakanheza are simple, but require a planned organizational approach.

Workshop Toolkit

Find all the resources you will need to deliver a Supporting Parents in Public Workshop at your museum.


Supporting Parents in Public

An Online Toolkit

Created by Minnesota Children's Museum

Click here to view the Museum's online Toolkit.

Supported by: MetLife Foundation & Association of Children's Museums' Promising Practice Replication Award

Parenting in Public is Challenging

Have you ever been in a public place like a grocery store, a library, or a children’s museum and seen a parent struggling with their child, or an adult who is starting to lose his or her temper when their children show challenging behaviors? Did you wonder what you could have done to help out? Do you work in a public setting and are unsure what role you and your staff can or should play in these situations? Have you ever been "that" parent?

You Can Lend a Hand

You can do something in these situations. Supporting Parents in Public is a museum-focused response to these everyday situations. This program provides materials for training staff on how to get involved, assist and support adults during these tough moments. The program also encourages organizations to implement changes to practices & procedures that help eliminate these stressful situations in the first place. This program is part of the Wakanheza* Project.

The practices and principals of Wakanheza are simple, but require a planned organizational approach.

What is the Wakanheza Project?

Minnesota Children's Museum is a partner in the Wakanheza Project: a community-based initiative focused on reducing tensions and stressful situations for families. St. Paul Ramsey County Department of Public Health founded the project, which assists individuals and organizations to be more open and receptive to the needs of families, and transform into more welcoming environments.

The Wakanheza Project principles (non-judgement, culture, powerlessness, empathy, environment, moment) are universal and simple and can be applied to many personal and public situations. Through helpful lessons learned in Wakanheza workshops, individuals can respond positively in encounters with parents, children, and families struggling in public settings. Thousands of individuals and many organizations have participated in workshops and use the practices and principles of Wakanheza in schools, libraries, faith communities and other public and private settings.

Voted BEST INDOOR ENTERTAINMENT for babies & preschoolers by MN Parent magazine
Voted TOP 10 BEST CHILDREN'S MUSEUM in the United States

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