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Looking to grow

This section is for those already running a small early years programme but want to expand further. Learn how to tell if and what children are learning in an article written by Jan Dubiel, National Director of Early Excellence, and read case studies covering topics such as the uses of digital technology, dedicated early years spaces and gallery resources.

  • A photograph of a toddler leaning against a museum cabinet containing ceramic plates and ornaments.

    Pineapples and Gingerbread

    Case study by the Fitzwilliam Museum and North Cambridge Child and Family Centre

    What does true partnership between two organisations look like? And how does it improve outcomes for children and families? Find out in this collaborative case study written by both museum and child and family centre staff.

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    Shiver me timbers!

    Case study by the Museum of London Docklands

    When the Museum of London Docklands decided to put on a show – with pirates and fire! - in the summer holidays, they adapted it for under 5s too. How did this approach go?

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    Baby Mindful

    Case study by Orleans House Gallery

    Orleans House Gallery wanted to support positive mental health for new and expectant parents. Find out what happened when they trialled mindfulness sessions for local parents with younger babies.

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    Sensory Explorers

    Case study by the National Maritime Museum

    The National Maritime Museum put out a call for local families – through flyers, tannoy announcements, Twitter and Hoop! – and together they created the resource they all wanted.

  • An under-5-year-old smiling in a soft play area.

    Evaluating the impact: How can we tell young children are learning?

    Article by Jan Dubiel

    Dive into the theory of how young children learn and how you can spot it happening, and hear how the Museum of London Docklands apply this understanding when planning activities.

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    Over the hills and far away - The Jolly Postman learning programme

    Case study by the Postal Museum

    Find out how the re-opening of the Postal Museum offered the opportunity to develop a brand new literary learning programme for schools.

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    Mini engineers: Science for under 5s

    Case study by National Museums Scotland

    Explore how National Museums Scotland developed a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) session suitable for school and family groups, using stories and songs to make connections with their collection.

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    GoPro gallery patrol

    Case study by Great North Museum: Hancock

    What does a toddler see when they totter around the galleries? Here's what happened when the Great North Museum: Hancock gave toddlers GoPros.

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    Early Years Atelier

    Case study by the Whitworth

    Less is more when working with under 5s! Explore the Whitworth's hands-on Early Years Atelier, inspired by the philosophy of Reggio Emilia.

  • A child uses a tablet computer at a British Museum family session.

    Digital learning at the Samsung Digital Discovery Centre

    Case study by the British Museum

    How can technology be used meaningfully with under 5s? Find out how the British Museum’s dedicated under 5s sessions use technology, including micro robots and tablets, to deepen visitors' engagement with their collection.

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    The many lives of the Swatch

    Case study by Tate

    Thinking of developing a gallery resource for under 5s? Tate created Swatch, a self-directed resource to increase engagement with underrepresented families at their sites.

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    Toddler Takeover

    Case study Great North Museum: Hancock

    Turn toddlers into curators and conservators! Explore the Great North Museum: Hancock's Toddler Takeover, part of Kids in Museums annual Takeover Day.

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    Early Years film

    Museum of London

    Be a fly on the wall and discover how children under three learn in museums. Go behind the scenes of the Museum of London Docklands' early years programme with Jo Graham.

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    Evaluating provision for under 5s

    Museum of London

    Recommendations for evaluating provision for under 5s, including how evaluation has influenced the Museum of London's programming over the last 10 years.

  • A father and son play together at an under-5s session.

    Lessons learnt

    Museum of London

    In this piece, the Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands reflect on over nine years of running an early years programme and share the key lessons we have learnt.

  • An under-5-year-old uses a self-directed resource at the Museum of London Docklands.

    Self-directed resources for families with children under 5

    Museum of London

    Self-directed resources offer a way for families with children under five to feel welcome, comfortable and supported while visiting a museum or gallery. Take inspiration from the Museum of London’s family resources – including a baby sensory mat!

  • A child touches a guitar at a session for under-5s.

    The early years programme at the Museum of London

    Museum of London

    From weekly baby and toddler sessions, to special pirate-themed summer shows and a two-day Toddler Takeover festival weekend, find out how the Museum of London run their programme.

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    Top tips

    Museum of London

    Explore the Museum of London's top tips for working with under 5s. Discover what resources are must-haves, how to make the most of gallery visits and more.

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    Sample resources

    Museum of London

    A collection of handy sample resources for working with under 5s, from a messy play handout for first time attendees, to risk assessment and evaluation templates.

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    Useful links

    Museum of London

    A list of websites, publications and projects that have proven useful when working with under 5s at the Museum of London.