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Museums from across Kent & Medway 'create a school workshop'

On Tuesday 3rd February, a group of staff and volunteers from across Kent & Medway museums and heritage sites got together to find out how to create an effective and enjoyable workshop for schools.

The day was led by Education Consultant, Judith Carruthers as part of the Building Engagement programme of work, with support from the team at Maidstone Museum. Roz Meredith, Learning Officer at Maidstone, set the scene by giving the group a bit of background as to how they go about developing a new session.  Some top tips from Roz include:

  • Begin by writing the theme/object in the centre of a large piece of paper and creating a spider diagram full of everything that you can think of that links to the topic;
  • Work the session around objects you have in the collection / available for handling and link to the National Curriculum afterwards;
  • Include lots of activities which include reasoning and collaboration skills;
  • Storytelling is a good approach for younger children;
  • Train your learning volunteers/staff using a script with key facts - whne they become more confident they will deliver the session in their own style while still getting across the key facts;
  • Provide a briefing sheet for the teachers and adult helpers to enable them to fully engage in the activities.

The group were then lucky enough to experience Maidstone Museum's Egyptian Mummification session as a 10 year old would (Key Stage 2), led by experience Learning Assistant, Vicki:

"Vicki's sample workshop was an excellent way to see how the workshop can be delivered and it was tailored to a 'young' audience which helped me understand the best way to engage young children through effective language and word use." (Participant)

Lots of questions, object handling activities and putting our hands-up later, we reconvened to discuss what we liked about Vicki's approach to the delivery of the session.

Roz also shared with us how they deliver sessions to younger children in Key Stage 1 (5-7 year olds), through their Dinosaur session.  As well as this, the participants got the opportunity to have a guided tour around some of the museum galleries to see what a gallery-led session would look like.

We also enjoyed 'Arts Award Supporter Bingo' led by Leanne MacDonald from the bridge organisation, Artswork.  This exercise showed the group how easy it is to offer something that supports Arts Award.  She then walked us through the new Arts Award Supporter website. 

Click here for useful links and resources

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