A school in Nottingham have come up with a wonderful idea to get the children’s creative juices flowing. Nottingham University Samworth Academy have created a wonder space, set within the school, curated by Dr Mathew McFall. This designated space in filled with an eclectic mix of objects from an inner ear of a whale to a black pre-war typewriter and large 1950’s white telephone.
Children are encouraged to explore, interact and touch the objects and just gaze in wonder. There is no pressure to study the objects in depth, but rather wander around the room and enjoy them.
Langley Academy in Berkshire have been coined the first ‘museum learning school’ in the UK, by displaying museum collections within the school that can be implemented across the entire curriculum. They also create their own exhibits to be displayed. Their current museum display is in partnership with Reading university and is on the subject of food and drink. Entering the school, glass cases are visible with items such as old recipes, cooking utensils and the origins of well-known brands.
Kings College London created a project called ‘My primary school is at the museum’ initiated and coordinated by Wendy James, Architect and Partner at Garbers & James Architects. Inviting two primary schools and a nursery from Tyne and Wear, Swansea and Liverpool to base groups of children full time within their local museum for up to a term between January and June 2016. This was to establish the benefits to the children and their families from learning in this way, including social and cultural outcomes. It encouraged teachers to think more outside the box in the delivery of curriculum subjects, children were more enthused and talked in detail to their families about what they had been doing in lessons. Children had an increased thirst for learning helping to develop and improve their understanding of the value of history, language, science and mathematics in everyday life.
How wonderful would it be to create a museum/wonder space within your own educational setting? It could be set within the corner of the library, acrylic boxes filled with an assortment of weird and wonderful objects displayed in the corridors or a whole room for children to explore. An aquarium would be a fantastic addition to such a space, whether this be one displaying jellyfish, marine fish from the Indo-Pacific oceans or Malawi cichlids from the vast African lake. There are many learning opportunities, linking in with all areas of the curriculum too.