Play for Toddlers
Parents and Toddlers Get Playful at The Hunt
Last August, 2017, the ‘Play for Toddlers’ early years programme was established at the Hunt Museum in order to make it more friendly and relevant to the lives of young children and their parents. This programme aims to offer them greater opportunities to discover, connect with and creatively respond to collections. Since then, many Parent and Toddler groups across Limerick City have participated in these sessions and the museum is now turning its attention to groups operating in the County.
Play for Toddlers was established with some assistance from local museums in Northern Ireland, whom in recent years have been participating in the UK wide Playful Museums initiative. In August 2017, staff and museum Docent Volunteers visited some of these museums to learn more about their early years play programmes. These museums then travelled to Limerick to contribute to a day of seminars on early years development in museums. Approximately 60 persons attended this event including early years workers, academics and students. Museum staff and Docents then participated in early years training by The ABC Start Right Limerick project, who are supportive of this project on an on-going basis.
Since August, The Hunt Museum has collaborated with a number of artists to design Play for Toddler sessions inspired by particular objects in the collection. In September, Galway based early years artist Jane Hayes designed the programme’s initial session which included the creation of a multisensory playscape called ‘Erik the Viking’. Since then community musician Julie Tiernan and artist Joanna Williams have collaborated to develop a music-based session for it. In different ways, these sessions each support toddler development by maximising opportunities to learn through ‘pretend’ play, language, movement, music and the creative arts.
The Hunt Museum has also been delivering Play for Toddlers outreach sessions with groups in community venues. In the next few months, further outreach sessions with parent and toddler groups will be delivered, including in Patrickswell, Abbeyfeale and in Newcastle West. If groups would like to experience this programme, please contact the Hunt Museum on 061 312833 to find out more. Also keep an eye on the Hunt Museum’s facebook page to find out about further FREE drop in sessions it will be running on Saturday mornings.
The Play for Toddlers programme was established using funding accessed through the Department of Culture, heritage and Gaeltacht’s cooperation with Northern Ireland scheme. This funding was awarded in June 2017 and concluded at the end of October.
To date sessions have been delivered with: Play and Park, Watchouse Cross Library, Northside RFC, Limerick Social Services (Central Buildings), members from Cuidíu Limerick, St Lelia’s. Approximate 100 toddlers and 100 parents have participated in the programme.
For further information, contact Maria Cagney, Curator of Education & Outreach at The Hunt Museum. Tel: 061 490080 firstname.lastname@example.org