Anna Housley Juster

Anna Housley Juster is senior director of child development and community engagement at Boston Children’s Museum, developing content across exhibits and programs and creating models for community engagement both at the Museum and in a variety of local neighborhoods. Anna began her career as a Head Start® teacher and now draws on eighteen years of experience within formal and informal contexts including schools, educational media, and toy design. For many years, Anna served as director of content for Sesame Workshop where she created the curriculum for the Sesame Street series, managed content development for products across the brand, and conducted formative and summative evaluation. She managed development of Sesame Street Presents…the Body, an interactive traveling museum exhibit designed to build healthy habits for children ages two through eight and their caregivers. Anna has also been a child development consultant for clients such as Hasbro Inc., where she informed the design of toddler and preschool toys, and Thinkwell Production & Design where she helped to create the award-winning children’s exhibit NatureQuest for the Fernbank Museum in Georgia. She has written curricula covering a range of subjects including Big Math for Little Kids, an early childhood math curriculum funded by NSF; Healthy Habits for Life, a comprehensive preschool/K health program distributed to millions of families via WIC; and Around the World with Grover, a global citizenship curriculum. Anna recently co-wrote the STEM curriculum for Boston Public School K2 classrooms to align with the Next Generation Science Standards and supported teacher professional development focused on inquiry in early education.

Anna has managed several outreach initiatives and written hundreds of articles and activities to support adult-child connections and opportunities for everyday learning. She has conducted quantitative and qualitative research across a broad range of topics including a bi-national study of children’s understanding of astronomy in China and the U.S. As co-founder of the nonprofit organization Pop-Up Adventure Play, Anna spent several years working in the U.S. and internationally to support child-directed play through professional development and parent workshops, as well as free public play events for children across age groups. Recent publications include Citizens at Play: Children’s participation through community-based opportunities for child-directed play (Global Studies of Childhood). She co-authored a chapter in the book Thinking Critically about Environments for Young Children (Kuh, 2014) and contributes to NAEYC’s family blog.

Anna holds a B.A. in Child Study and English with pre-K through 3rd grade teaching certification from Tufts University, an M.A. in Developmental Psychology from Teachers College/Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from New York University where she researched relationships among 3-year-olds’ time use, mothers’ beliefs about their role in their 3-year-olds’ education, parenting practices, and social pressures related to children’s learning during the first years of life. Anna is also Mom to two daughters (6 and 9) who, thankfully, remind her to play and learn daily.

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