On February 24 we attended a conference entitled ‘creating captivating spaces for under 5s’ hosted by the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester.
The Manchester Museums and Galleries Partnership are well known for their popular and innovative early years programmes and spaces so we were keen to find out all that we could to help us make North Lincolnshire Museum and Normanby Hall Country Park better places for families with under 5s.
Here are some of our favourite bits of the day:
The team from Wild Rumpus spoke about how their events produce extraordinary worlds, most often in wild natural landscapes, and invite families to step inside and help to create incredible stories and moments of wonder. An important characteristic of their work is giving families permission to play and be ridiculous, something we are keen to promote here.
We heard from a local nursery about their long standing links with Manchester Museum and the wonderful experiences their children have had through exploring the museum on engaging child-led visits following their individual interests and taking this learning back into the nursery setting.
We had the chance to see the Early years Atelier space at the Whitworth in action. This is a drop in space for child-led artistic exploration. The space itself is a blank canvas and during each session a range of materials are available for children to use. On this occasion the children were exploring paint in autumnal colours. It was wonderful to see the whole space covered in paint, including lots of toddlers!
Finally we were able to see an early years session happening in the gallery where parents and children were enjoying music and movement activities with brightly coloured fabric inspired by the artwork on display.
We came away with lots of inspiration and ideas for the future.
On January 26th we took part in North Lincolnshire Councils annual Services to School event, where they showcase to Academies and other Schools all that the Council has to offer.
Our display (alongside 20:21, Sports & Leisure, Educational Visits, ELS and Music) hosted Anglo-Saxon and Viking weaponry and jewellery to try on and handle. Free goody bags were available as well as leaflets and adverts about our current and upcoming education offers.
We had about a dozen school staff that we spoke to about what we do and a few good contacts to get in touch with. The new Forest School offer seemed extremely interesting to Schools. We can’t wait to see it in action!
We love our family visitors and lots of families who visit us have young children under the age of 5.
Over the next few years we are taking part in an exciting project together with Hull and East Riding Museums to focus on children under 5 and improve the North Lincolnshire Museum and Normanby Hall Country Park for families visiting with young children.
Over the past few months we have been busy visiting and about learning from other museums who work with under 5s. We have also held consultation with visitors and local families about how we can best provide for them.
We are working to make sure that our facilities and displays cater for families and have been training our staff to work with young children. We aim for our venues to be friendly, fun and interactive places for families to explore and discover new things together.
We are also planning lots of new resources, activities, sessions and events to help families get the most out of a visit.
Watch this space for more news about fun for under 5s!