Tag archives: galleries

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Working with babies and under 5s in museums, galleries, libraries and archives – useful guidelines and case studies

GruffaloI am so impressed by the Forestry Commission’s Gruffalo activities. I watched loads of little children totally enthralled as they followed the trail in Westonbirt Arboretum. Such a captivating and inspiring idea.

I’ve been giving lots of training on effective provision for babies and under 5s in museums, galleries, libraries and archives. It’s great to have the opportunity to explore good practice in depth, identifying ways to support very young children’s learning and development, and discussing how to engage them, and their parents, carers and families. I love this picture of a Dinky Dragons session at Cardiff Story, where I gave some courses recently.DSC00355I thought it might be helpful to share some of the publications, guidelines and case studies I have found useful and informative.

Library Services from Birth to Five: Delivering the Best Start will be also very helpful I’m sure, though I’m very biased, having contributed a chapter.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Courses on working with children in museums – my training in Qatar

MIAI finally have time to reflect on the training I gave in Doha for UCL Qatar earlier this month. What a privilege to work there. The training venue was the stunning Museum of Islamic Art.

The museum scene in Qatar is very exciting, with lots of new institutions in the planning stages, including an amazing Children’s Museum. Although it has no building yet, staff are already doing ground-breaking work. My training was primarily for museum practitioners, from there and other museums, but I was delighted to have some library delegates too.

The first course was on provision for babies and under 5s. We talked about early child development and the role of cultural organisations in supporting it. There were great discussions on effective activities for families with young children, and lovely ideas for making them enjoyable and fully participative.

Day two was on working with primary age children. I loved the debates about how children learn, and ways to engage them and break down barriers to use – not least that there is not yet a culture of museum visits in Qatar. Some brilliant plans were made for supporting formal education and family learning.

The last day’s course was on working with children with special educational needs. The discussions on learning difficulties and strategies for nurturing SEN children’s learning and enjoyment were excellent. I was tremendously impressed with the initiatives delegates devised and are going now to put in place – wonderful inclusive, multi-sensory, interactive approaches.

Working in Qatar was an extraordinary opportunity. I learnt so much and met fascinating people. Many thanks to everyone for making me feel so welcome.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Special educational needs

What a treat to attend the wonderful Lighting the Future conference last weekend. I was delighted to give a workshop on how school and public libraries can support children and young people with learning difficulties. Thinking about it afterwards, I realised that lots of people might find these links and resources useful.

Asperger Syndrome Foundation
Attention Deficit Disorder Information and Support Service
Bag Books
Barrington Stoke
British Dyslexia Association
British Institute of Learning Disabilities
Down Syndrome Education International
Down’s Syndrome Association
Dyslexia Action
Dyslexia Friendly Books
Dyslexia Friendly Libraries
Dyslexia Parents Resource
Dyspraxia Foundation
Helping Autistic Pupils to Use the Library
Learning Disabilities Online
National Autistic Society
What Meet Our Authors Means to Me

I have found these three publications very helpful:
Frances Ball, Supporting special educational needs in the secondary school LRC, School Library Association, 2002, ISBN 9781903446126;
Edwina Cole, Walk in their shoes: a day in the school life of an SPLD student, Barrington Stoke, 2004, ISBN 9781842991626;
Claire Welsh and Rosie Williams, Whistlestop tour of special educational needs, Barrington Stoke, 2005, ISBN 9781842993019.

Those of you who have not seen them already may also like to check out my article for CILIP Update on supporting children and young people with special educational needs and my blog post about children’s books featuring disability.

I am giving a course on special needs for library, museum, gallery and archive staff in London on 6 July with Creating Capacity.

The photo shows a curiosity kit in use in the library at Lowton St Mary’s School in Wigan. I love giving training on curiosity kits. They are a fabulous way of making reading and learning more accessible.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Children in museums and galleries

I have just caught up with a very interesting piece about children and culture that was on Woman’s Hour last Thursday. Jeanette Winterson, Rosie Millard and Jenni Murray talked about the value of taking children to museums and galleries, and ways to make visits interesting. All saw avoiding boredom as vital, hardly surprisingly. Rosie Millard has some lovely ways of making gallery trips with her four children playful. Crucially, they never stay very long, and they only look at a few artworks. They buy postcards and then hunt out the pictures, they play compare and contrast games, they use paintings as the basis for story-telling. (A picture of Charles II on his horse has led to lots of enjoyably gruesome discussions about his execution.) The Grayson Perry exhibition, The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, on at the British Museum for just one more week, has been a big hit with children. Items in it like badges fascinate them, but it’s the irreverence and humour of lots of the exhibits that especially appeals. Much food for thought for me in all this in relation to my family learning courses.

Millions of children have never been inside a gallery, museum or theatre. Winterson and Millard were both adamant about the importance of school visits to cultural organisations.

Thank you for the photo to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery in Exeter, which runs fantastic family and school events.

Friday, 30 September 2011

The role of cultural and heritage organisations in supporting young offenders

It was great to give a course on working with young offenders for CILIP South East yesterday with John Vincent of The Network. The participants were highly experienced and deeply committed, with representatives from galleries, archives, public libraries and libraries in prisons and young offender institutions (YOIs). We explored how cultural and heritage organisations can contribute to YOIs’ agendas in terms of building young offenders’ confidence and self-esteem, fostering practical and social skills, and reducing re-offending rates. I found the debates about the constituents of effective projects and on-going work to support young offenders particularly interesting. Evidence shows that young offenders are more likely to respond enthusiastically to schemes that tie in with their interests and experiences, produce something tangible, and give them a sense of achievement. The involvement of the young people themselves in decisions is crucial. Storybook Dads, the Six Book Challenge and the Arts Award have been used extremely successfully in many YOIs, to give just a few examples. We talked about the importance of developing good partnerships between YOIs and cultural and heritage organisations, and the value of preventative approaches, working with Youth Offender Teams and virtual schools, for instance. Many thanks to everyone for sharing so many excellent ideas, and an especial thank you to Rachel Westworth for her invaluable case study on her work with young offenders at HMP Lewes.

While on the subject of young offenders, this is a useful article about how ex-offenders are helping turn young people away from crime.