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This section is for those with a well-established and long-standing early years programme. Understand more about the importance of neuroscience in an article written by Ruth Churchill Dower, Director of Earlyarts, and read case studies about working with local community groups, successful early years exhibitions and using Makaton.

  • A photograph of a young child holding a big, blue, periscope in a busy gallery space.

    Making space for under 5s

    Case study by Ferens Art Gallery

    Consultation is key. Discover the importance of listening to your audiences and the value of steering groups when designing new dedicated spaces for under fives.

  • A photograph of a baby sitting on an adults lap, looking at a soft toy.

    Creating a session for refugee and asylum seeking families

    Case study by Great North Museum: Hancock

    What came about when Newcastle’s City of Sanctuary requested a bespoke session for refugee and asylum seeking families with under 5s?

  • A photograph of children looking at a dead spider in a plastic box.

    Curioser and curioser

    Case study by the Tees Valley Making a Mark museums partnership

    What kinds of museum visits can be effective cultural learning experiences for EYFS groups of different ages? This exploratory project aimed to find out.

  • A photograph of an excited child in a museum gallery with people moving in the background.

    Weaving theory and practice

    Article by Dr Abigail Hackett, Professor Rachel Holmes & Dr Christina MacRae

    In this article Manchester Metropolitan University ask: How are we imagining or anticipating the babies, toddlers and young children that enter our museums?

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    “The Wheels on the Bus go to the Museum”

    Article by Jen DeWitt

    If young children spent most of their school day in a museum – over a long period – what would their learning be like? The ‘My Primary School is at the Museum’ project found out!

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    A Nursery in Residence

    Case study by the Fitzwilliam Museum

    The Fitzwilliam Museum and Cambridge University Botanic Garden welcomed nine nursery school children to a residency in a multi-disciplinary research project. What did they learn?

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    Bridlington Healthy Eating Partnership

    Case study by Sewerby Hall and Gardens

    Partnership working with Children’s Centres and a local church allowed Sewerby Hall and Gardens to reach new audiences – through cooking!

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    Neuroscience and early childhood development

    Article by Ruth Churchill Dower

    Young brains need to be nurtured. Ruth Churchill Dower explains why it is important for us to understand neuroscience and the role our venues can play in early brain development.

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    #My Manchester Museum

    Case study by the Manchester Museum

    Manchester Museum worked with their local library to deliver a series of events to better understand their local family audiences.

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    Say it with Makaton

    Case study by Great North Museum: Hancock

    Discover how the Great North Museum: Hancock trialled the use of Makaton to provide a welcoming and accessible environment and engage a wider range of family visitors.

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    Developing early years exhibitions through open-ended play

    Case study by the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum

    Find out how the Herbert worked with their Visitor Experience department on their most recent annual exhibition for under 5s - A Very Viking Voyage.

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    Creative explorers: Facilitating family creativity and well being

    Case study by Islington Museum

    How can you facilitate family wellbeing in a museum? Islington Museum delivered a collaborative research project for families experiencing mental health challenges.

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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.