Posted by Jason Treuen and Rachel Sibley at May 11 2017, 2:30pm
How do you make a playspace custom-built for children under five? When it came to Melbourne Museum’s wonderful new Pauline Gandel Children’s Gallery, they enlisted experts like Anne Stonehouse, an early childhood education specialist who’s also advised on the national Early Years Learning Framework.
Listen to Anne’s interview on Kinderling Conversation:
The planning has certainly paid off. The museum’s vibrant play-based area features a dinosaur dig to excavate fossils, a discovery garden, a mirror-lined ‘camouflage disco’ and a water-squirting frog statue based on Aboriginal legend. Older kids can explore at the large indoor/outdoor area, while babies can enjoy the multiple colours, textures and activities on offer.
According to Anne, learning lies at the core of the gallery’s genesis. “The younger the child is, the more they’re learning wherever they are,” she explains. “Babies were born to communicate, explore, relate. Every experience they have – in a museum, with their family at home, in an early education care service, should build on that drive to learn.”
She says it’s all about encouraging open experiences for kids of all ages and the chance to learn at every turn.
“There’s a lot of things I really love about the new gallery,” she says. “The physical environment is set up to offer different opportunities to engage at whatever level they want… Kids can be creative and have experiences based on their interests and abilities.”
One curious thing she loves is the museum’s deliberate lack of directions or signs for its young visitors. “At the museum, there’s an absence of pressure,” explains Anne. “I love the fact that it’s more relaxing for families and hopefully more open for families to engage with children in a way that makes sense and reflects the child’s interest.”
And while we had her, we couldn’t help but ask about Anne’s own advice for raising bright, creative kids.
“The only absolute necessity is to develop a loving, warm, respectful relationship with the child that recognises that child’s individuality.”
Sounds like good advice to us!
Museums Victoria is giving every baby born, fostered and adopted in Victoria from February 20 2017 a free six-month Museum membership at their eight-week visit. Visit their website for more info.
Our first look at Melbourne Museum's new Children's Gallery
See what's inside the new multi-million dollar space.
Join the Kinderling House Party at City Recital Hall this July!
Don't miss out on all the fun!
Andy Griffiths' The 78-Storey Treehouse is hitting the stage in Melbourne
Check it out these April school holidays at Arts Centre Melbourne.
20 awesome baby names from your fave Netflix shows
Grab some inspo as you're watchin'.
Melbourne Museum hosts special kids' playdates for International Day Of Forests
Does your child love nature and animals? Mark March 21 in your diary!
The good, the bad and the ugly of children’s film remakes
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Vote now for your favourite Kinderling podcast
Is Bedtime Explorers the only way to get your kids to sleep? Maybe Kinderling Conversation is your parenting saviour?
Lights, Camera, Action: How song, dance and drama create a more resilient child
There could be more to the performing arts than the 'airy fairy'.