We are deep in the development of a new space for our Under 5 audience. Mini Mariners Play opens this December, and is located at the front of the USA Gallery, exploring themes of under the sea and by the seaside.
Why a new space for this audience? There is consistent evidence that young children can and do engage positively in museums, generating imaginative insights and new knowledge when they are given the opportunity and motivation to do so (Piscitelli and Anderson, 2001). There was also the pressing need to update our current (and somewhat tired) Under 5 space to be more in tune with the needs and interests of contemporary young learners. Research has found that typically young children engage positively in museum experiences where they can exert choice and control often through play-based activities and collaborative interactions (Dockett, et al, 2011). Our own research with this audience has shown the value of the programs the museum already provides, coupled with a desire for more. Mini Mariners Play has been developed with these outcomes in mind and promises to be an exciting new addition to the museum’s offer for families and young children.
Watch this space for updates!