Close encounters with culture of the Early Years kind

By Rachel Hayward | 10 February 2009
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An image of a woman helping a young girl to stick something together.

© Museum of East Asian Art, Bath

If you’re an Early Years Practitioner, what can museums offer in terms of your continuing professional development?

Many venues, including Manchester Museums and Galleries, have early years co-ordinators who have developed CPD workshops tailored to the Early Years Foundation Stage on how to use museums and galleries to support children’s learning and exploration across Manchester Museum, Manchester Art Gallery, The Whitworth Art Gallery and the People’s History Museum. It’s entitled list of CPD opportunities and is a clickable link near the top of their Early Years Programme page.

Then you can scroll down their Early Years Programme page to Early Years Collective Conversations. There’s a YouTube link to a wonderful example of museum/nursery collaboration. Martenscroft SureStart Centre and Nursery School joined up with The Manchester Museum and artist, Margaret Jackson, to produce artwork based on the Museum’s collections. It’s clear from watching the film that the experience gave the Early Years practitioners involved a genuine CPD experience.

Also worth having a look at (and again accessible as a link from the same page) is the publication, Close Encounters with Culture. It explores how museums and galleries can support the EYFS. There are ideas and activities for visits and fun things to do back in your nursery as well as ways to involve parents.

You don’t have to be in Manchester to access similar training. Why not contact your local museum – or gallery, or heritage site - to find out about their provision for EYFS learning? Culture24’s Places to Go section can help you with your search. Museums are often keen to discuss how they can help you with CPD. It helps them reach young visitors and their parents. Perhaps the case studies between Manchester based museums and galleries and local SureStart centres have sparked some CPD ideas you can develop with a museum on your doorstep?

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