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Early Years and The Foundation Stage

Early YearsOur Early Years programme aims to introduce young children to the world of art and museums in a playful and friendly manner. We use stories and picture books to provide a meaningful context within which the children can explore the collection for themselves.

Working in the Galleries

The ground floor galleries are particularly suited to working with Early Years groups. The majority of the objects are displayed behind glass and many of the cases reach down to the floor so the objects are easily visible to young children. These collections include interesting animals and other characters as well as objects such as fans, swords and knights in armour. With careful planning, the first floor galleries can also offer up suitable materials for working with young children, including portraits of a wide variety of different people and their costumes, land and seascapes and the impressive entrance hall.

Studio Sessions

We use the studio space to give children the opportunity to develop their enquiries in the galleries through practical art activities. We encourage children to explore a range of different materials and express their ideas through making.

Tips on Planning your Session

  • You make book a session led by a museum teacher, or a self-led visit. There is no charge for these.
  • If you would like to lead your own session we have a selection of picture books available for use with your groups in the galleries. These stories have each been linked to a particular part of the collection.
  • There are scripted stories for you to use in the paintings galleries by yourself. These include Turrets and Tiaras, Sleeping Beauty and The Story of Jan.
  • We advise you plan to spend about 45 minutes working in the galleries.
  • If you would like to book a studio session we usually arrange a 1 ½ hour session split between gallery and studio and ask for no more than 15 children in each group.
  • It is advisable to book the lunch room for a snack when you arrive, and to build time for visiting the toilets into your schedule!
  • Call us for advice and suggestions on 01223 332904.>

Find out more about previous sessions.


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Teachers’ Pre-visits

We are always happy to meet with teachers to plan and
discuss museum visits. To book a pre-visit please call 01223 332904
or email