Archive | Other things of interest RSS feed for this section

Early Years Work Shortlisted for the Clore Award for Museum Learning

15 May

The work of the Manchester Early Years Partnership has made the shortlist for the Clore Learning Award 2012.

Five projects have been shortlisted and these can all be seen on the Art Fund website by clicking here

The award of £10,000 will not be announced until June 2012.

Good luck to everyone on the shortlist.



Early Years work longlisted for The Clore Award for Museum Learning 2012

15 Feb

On the move, Withworth Art Gallery

The Manchester Early Years Partnership is delighted to have been longlisted for the Clore Museum Learning Award.  Supported by the Clore Duffield Foundation and Art Fund, the Award celebrates quality museum and gallery learning with children and young people (from early years up to the age of 25) in any setting, in or out of school/college. It recognises achievements in learning programmes which develop the skills, knowledge, values and enjoyment of the participants.  The single award of £10,000 will be presented in June 2012 .

The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester City Galleries and Manchester Museum (The Manchester Early Years partnership) are working together to develop social, imaginative and playful ways to engage early years children, practitioners and parents. Project strands include;
Participatory early years learning programmes
Targeted partnership programme with providers
Culturebaby; early intervention with under 2s.

‘The early years partnership work that has taken place in Manchester has been an exciting and innovative collaboration that has had significant impact on early years practitioners, children and their families in Manchester.’

Sarah Murray
(Former Strategic Lead Early Years, Manchester City Council)

The shortlist will be announced on May 14 2012

For more information on the award and the longlist visit

Items in the news

18 Nov

There has been a lot of press recently about Early Years, Sure Start Centres, Reading, Families and Arts Education, I thought it might be worth pulling the links together below.  What other items have you seen in the press recently?  Please feel free to share your thoughts or links in the comments below.

Big Names Call for Arts Education to Preserved

A string of big names from the arts world are urging the government to ensure cultural learning is not stripped from schools in England.

Former film-maker Lord Puttnam, Old Vic director Kevin Spacey and Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota have signed a report showcasing the value of arts education. They fear changes to the curriculum could see arts subjects sidelined.

The government said its reforms would not stop schools teaching the arts.

Reading to Children has Long Impact, says OECD Study

Children whose parents frequently read with them in their first year of school are still showing the benefit when they are 15, says an international study.

An Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development analysis examined the long-term impact of parental support on literacy.

Reading with Child ‘Highlight of the day for parents’

Parents in England and Northern Ireland are spending more time reading to their children for pleasure, a survey for the reading scheme Booktime suggests.

The poll found parents spent an average of one hour and 26 minutes a week reading with their children in 2011, up from one hour 18 minutes in 2009. For the majority (71%) reading with their child is one of the highlights of their day.

Free nursery places for 140,000 disadvantaged toddlers

As many as 140,000 disadvantaged two-year-olds could have free nursery or childcare places under a scheme planned to be rolled out in England.

Plans to give 15 hours of free “early education” a week to all two-year-olds from poor homes were announced last year but details have now been set out. A pilot scheme, first started under Labour, is due to be extended nationwide from September 2013.

Further to this, see the News Release from the Department of Eduction

124 Sure Start centres have closed since the coalition took power

The government has confirmed that there are now 124 fewer Sure Start centres for children than there were when the coalition formed last year.

Lord Hill of Oareford, the education minister, released figures that showed there were 3,631 Sure Start centres in April last year, but by 8 September this year there were only 3,507.

Further to this, see the News Release from the Department for Education

Child Poverty warning as cuts threaten to close 3,500 Sure Start Centres

Pressure is growing on the government to step in to protect the country’s Sure Start children’s centres amid confusion over the true scale of cuts being proposed around the country.

Former government adviser Naomi Eisenstadt, Sure Start’s first director at its launch in 1998, said it had become obvious that ministers “couldn’t guarantee anything” for 3,500 centres, credited with reducing child poverty levels and creating community cohesion.

Launch of the Nutbrown Review

On Friday 28 October the Secretary of State for Education, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, announced the launch of an independent review of early education and childcare qualifications, to be carried out by Professor Cathy Nutbrown.

The review will look in particular at five themes: content of qualifications and training courses, coherence and inclusivity, creating clear career pathways, standards, and the status of the workforce.  Prof Nutbrown will be making a wide ranging assessment of the current qualifications landscape and opportunities for strengthening the system with a view to putting proposals before the Secretary of State for Education and the Minister of State for Children and Families, Sarah Teather MP, in summer 2012.



Verbal and Non Verbal Cues

10 Nov

Over the past week, I’ve been fortunate to have a series of conversations with colleagues and practitioners about how we could demonstrate that babies and very young children are experiencing high levels of wellbeing and involvement. I’d be delighted, and interested,  if you would like to share your thoughts or links in the comments below.

And, of course, there are lots and lots of things that we can do and reflect back to illustrate this.  You may remember my delight in a recent blog post, with a video of twin boys “talking to each other’, and I logged on to show this to a colleague and I noticed that the poster of the video had changed the accompanying text.  His wife, now runs a blog, based on the exploits of these very same boys.  I had a very pleasant and enjoyable tea break, looking at the footage, all the while aware of my interest in both verbal and non verbal cues.  I’m no observational expert, but like me, I am sure you can spot some too……

Here’s the first part of the conversation had by those twins, enjoy!

Far Far Away August 2011

7 Nov

This post originally appeared on The PreRaphaelite Experiment Blog on September 30th 2011, you can see the original post here

As part of [Manchester Art Gallery’s] summer family programme Far Far Away, we created a space where children could explore story-making, inspired by the Pre-Raphaelites. However, we were very aware that younger children, especially 0-2s would struggle to participate in the story-making, so set about creating areas for children to explore and respond to nature. Artist Michiko Fujii created a tent based on The Hireling Shepherd by Holman Hunt developing a number of ways for children to interact with nature. Initially we decided to do this through paper cutting and manipulation, recorded nature sounds and flower scents, but as the project developed we grew braver and introduced natural materials such as apples, flowers, leaves and twigs. We provided mirrors, a light box and magnifiers to help children to explore pattern, shape, similarity and difference in the materials.

“We could see the pollen in the flower, the light box is cool”

“Look at all the detail and thought she’s put into it”

This proved so popular that we developed a nature trail complete with secret flaps, nooks and crannies which snaked round the gallery, creating another way for children to engage with nature.

‘Let’s follow the trial to the woods, we’ll need our torches as it’s dark. I’m going to do some gardening too. Let’s shine our torches into the forest and see what we can find”

Determined to find new ways for children to investigate nature and feeling braver still we introduced clay and children began take prints and casts of the leaves and twigs. Some children chose to experiment with 3D compositions making mini worlds.

Finally we used The Hireling Shepherd and Autumn Leaves paintings to explore mark making and printing. Initially we encouraged children to run around the meadow making marks. Later we changed the season to autumn and cut up leaves and provided brushes for children to sweep with. Projecting an image of the painting on the wall really helped families to make the connection.

We saw lots of evidence of language development through these activities and the use of multi-sensory tools really seemed to support this. Parents encouraged their children to talk about what they could smell or feel and some children began to describe things using onomatopoeic words.

“ I can hear the sheep from the field”

“Splodge, kerplunk”

We were surprised that children made the connection between nature and stories without being prompted. One boy made an enclosure to contain the poisonous flower which had killed the princess.

“I’ve made a leaf castle!”

The spaces we had created; the tent, the nature trail, the meadow and the clay area along with their own mini worlds became spaces for story-making and adventure even amongst the very youngest children. Over 3000 children and parents participated in the project.

“This is just brilliant. You don’t expect to find this sort of thing in galleries”

Patricia Kuhl: The linguistic genius of babies

31 Oct

At TEDxRainier, Patricia Kuhl shares astonishing findings about how babies learn one language over another — by listening to the humans around them and “taking statistics” on the sounds they need to know. Clever lab experiments (and brain scans) show how 6-month-old babies use sophisticated reasoning to understand their world.

Alison Gopnik: What do babies think?

27 Oct

Another short and sweet post for you, more interesting things from the internet….

“Babies and young children are like the R&D division of the human species,” says psychologist Alison Gopnik. Her research explores the sophisticated intelligence-gathering and decision-making that babies are really doing when they play.

See the video by clicking here