Your Pre-visit Briefing

Learning Team 5 Apr 2024

MoPA is founded on the belief that more play and creativity will paint a brighter future. Our Museums cater to children aged 1 to 7 and they champion unstructured, imaginative play that’s driven by the child. This approach is centred on open-ended inquiry and collaborative meaning-making. MoPA’s educational philosophy aligns seamlessly with the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the Victorian Curriculum, ensuring the strongest and most relevant learning foundations. We take immense pride in our recognition as global leaders and innovators in the fields we play.

When your little learners arrive at MoPA, they will generally require no encouragement to dive in. Everything you’ll find in the space is thoughtfully designed to allow children to safely discover and explore independently, without the need for instructions or cues. What might come as a surprise is that MoPA is not just a realm for little ones; it’s a place designed for families to explore and learn together. Every exhibit you encounter will allow for collaboration, and actually offers opportunities for both you and your child to engage in play and learning together.

Research indicates that children’s earliest development occurs through their connection to communities, especially their families, who serve as their initial and most influential educators; and so you will play a pivotal role in your child’s learning and growth during each MoPA visit.

Play may not come as naturally to some adults as it does to children, and parents often seek guidance on how to facilitate their little ones’ interaction with various exhibits. While you may spot me wandering the museum floor in my ‘expert in early learning’ t-shirt (please say hello, if you do!), ALL of our wonderful educators are capable of pointing you in the right direction in this regard. At any time during your visit, please don’t hesitate to ask us questions.

Our Museum’s are jam-packed full of exhibits and activities, but here are some of my personal favourites that will help you get your play-based experience started:

The Blue Block Room

This STEM-inspired exhibit encourages critical thinking while experimenting with engineering concepts. Collaborative building offers richer opportunities for your child to articulate observations and derive new meanings from their creation, and as a caregiver, you can prompt your child to identify shapes, angles, and patterns that provide stability to the structure. Or how about a family building challenge? Using 15 pieces, can you build a contraption that transports us across time? You’ve got 10 minutes.. GO!

Star Studio

Lights, camera, action! The Star Studio offers numerous learning opportunities, including increased confidence, creative expression, voice animation, and character development. By actively participating in this performing arts exhibit, you can help your child develop the capacity to present ideas to an audience through embodied expression and role-play. Why not encourage your child to dress up the adults in costumes, assign character names, teach dance moves, and stage a family performance? Participation from adults will deeply enrich your child’s experience here in the Star Studio – plus, it’s FUN!

Art Wall

Resembling a more traditional museum display, The Art Wall offers a range of learning moments, and is the chance to introduce your child to the world of art. Interact with the unique exhibits, mimic the displays, and discuss what you notice in each artwork. Whether identifying aesthetics like colours, textures, and shapes or forming opinions about preferences and why, these group discussions greatly benefit your child’s cognitive development and overall understanding of how broad our interpretation of the arts can and should be.

Zoom Room

Set up a family Zoom Room race! Time how long each car takes to get from start to finish. Who won? What shape was the track or car that they used? Did that help them win? How about the size and shape of the car – did that help? Try a few rounds using different tracks and sized cars to test out the differences. By actively using questions in this exhibit, you can prompt your little one to make new connections about the basics of physics. And as they compare the different race results, they consolidate new understandings about the effects of push and pull and an object’s shape and size.

Cinema Room

Need a break? Head to the Cinema Room, grab a beanbag, and read a book together. There’s nothing like finding a moment of stillness to savour the magic of MoPA. Taking time as a group to regulate energy and emotions in a low-sensory space underscores the importance of reflection, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence for your child. And if it’s ultimate peace you seek, be sure to find your way to our cocoon-like privacy rooms for time-out, silent feeding, prayer, or just some good quality quiet time together.

Remember, it’s okay for your visit to be entirely child-led. Depending on what captures the interest of your little one, you may explore some of these areas during one visit, and other areas next time. Embrace your child’s natural inclinations to unfold and enjoy the journey with them.

The learning potential in these spaces is boundless. Whether it’s socially developing through role play with new or old friends, dialogue and group games with fellow guests, cognitively developing with problem solving and critical thinking, or physically developing by increasing fine motor skills, coordination, balance and stamina – the learning opportunities at MoPA really are limitless.

If you’re interested in more ideas, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our amazing MoPA Educators on the floor during your visit. We relish discussing all things related to play-based learning and creative exploration.

We cannot wait for you to dive in and experience all the ways your family can play together.

No matter what age, we’re always learning!

Nicole Hrissis
Head of Learning

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Hey Northsiders, guess what? MoPA is coming to Thomastown!

Over one million Melburnians have access to Thomastown in under 20-minutes, and so when this BEAUTIFUL building at 391 Settlement Road became available it was an absolute no-brainer that we secure it for Melbourne’s newest Children’s Museum.

We love love LOVE that this building is rich in heritage and artful history. It was originally a pottery studio, built in 1923, and home to potters from all over the world for more than 50-years. And now, this beautiful big building will be re-imagined as Melbourne’s newest Children’s Museum, jam-packed with immersive learning experiences, but also dance, theatre, storytelling, craft, art, and more, all designed to support the Early Years Learning Framework and Victorian Curriculum.

Tag your northside BFFs and start planning your playdates, excursions and parties. We expect to be ready to open in mid Spring of 2024 and will keep you posted with progress updates. xx 🌈🎨🧑‍🎨❤️
OK… So, this is happening (again!)

Details soon… 🌈🎨🔨🪚🧑‍🎨🖼️
“Our Earth” starts tomorrow at MoPA!!

Understanding ‘our place in this world’ is a lifelong journey for most. But SO many of the most important lessons are learned early in our lives, at home. To help facilitate the important conversations to have with children, MoPA’s educators have developed a range of new activities called “Our Earth” and this new series starts tomorrow at MoPA. All the new activities run all day, every day. Visit our fancy new website for more detail.

But ALSO, as a reminder of how easy it can be to make a difference, we’ve put together...

🌈 A BIG LIST OF SMALL THINGS (THAT ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE) ☀️…

1. Ride your bike or scooter
2. Plant some veggies
3. Buy second hand or swap with friends
4. Cook at home
5. Eat more vegetables and less meat
6. Organise a community clean up
7. Save water
8. Buy less packaged products
9. Recycle
10. Turn off the lights
11. Use a blanket instead of the heater
12. Clean with natural products
13. But the imperfect produce
14. Mend it instead of replacing it
15. Air dry your washed clothes
16. Compost organic waste
17. Refill water bottles
18. Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth
19. Carpool
20. Eat left overs instead of throwing them out
21. Use energy efficient lights
22. Use both sides of the paper
23. Plant a tree
24. Eat seasonal produce
25. Recycle batteries and buy rechargeable
26. Walk more
27. Make a bird feeder
28. Plant flowers for the bees
29. Buy less plastic toys
30. Up-cycle for craft projects
31. Donate old clothes and toys
32. Visit the library instead of buying a book
33. Plant native plants
34. Organise a toy trade with friends
35. Use reusable bags
36. Keep your cat indoors
37. Clean up your favourite park
38. Have a quick shower
39. Use cold water to wash clothes and dishes
40. Water your plants in the morning
41. Use a reusable coffee cup
42. Only run the dishwasher when full
43. Install slow-flow shower heads
44. Use reusable straws
45. Use Beeswax wrap
46. Avoid aerosol cans
47. Use fans instead of aircon
48. Turn off unnecessary electronics
49. Pack lunches in reusable containers
50. Be kind to creatures
What does yellow SMELL like? Ok, but what does it SOUND like? And how does it FEEL?

Asking children abstract questions about simple subject matter is SUCH a fun and fascinating way to unlock creative thinking. The resulting discussions will also probably be the cutest thing you’ll hear all week. 

Those that have explored the giant sensory colour wheel at MoPA Sandringham will remember that this exhibit is a huge abstract exploration of colour. And if you’ve perhaps just walked past it in the past, thinking that it sits smack bang in the centre of the Museum just because it’s beautiful - next time we suggest you pause, engage, discuss your colourful ideas with those around you, and soak up your child’s amazing abstract thought exploration…

x MoPA
As we grow older, and then become mothers and fathers ourselves, we start to realise that communicating the depth of our gratitude for Mums is impossible. But we sure can try 🥰 !!

This week at MoPA, we plan to do our BEST to show all our mothers and others just how much we love and appreciate them. Starting Monday 6th we’re kicking off a full week of festivities starting with the most gorgeous crafter-noons (and crafter-mornings!? 😅) making thousands of the lil’ flower cards pictured here in this post. 

All our Mumma-focused curriculum will run ALL day EVERY day, right up until Mother’s Day, May 12th. 

Love you Mum 💝 

x MoPA
There ain’t nothin’ like a super-cute puppy post to get us all to paws and reflect... 🐾

One of MoPA’s key partners, MacKillop Family Services, do LOTS of AMAZING work to ensure every child has the opportunity to grow up in a safe and loving home. One beautiful example [that’s particularly close to home for the team here at MoPA] of their work is the incredible “Paw Pals” program; supporting the placement of therapy dogs with children who have experienced trauma, to help them reconnect with their learning. 

Some of the MoPA team actually had the pleasure of meeting one of the program’s participants recently and... WOW. This. Program. Changes. Lives.

And today - 30 April, 2024 - MacKillop’s matching partners are TRIPLING all donations to the annual #pawpalsappeal . So, a $10 donation will become $30; $100 becomes $300, and the $333 donation MoPA has made this morning has become $999 - WOOP! 

Head to www.pawpalsappeal.org.au before midnight tonight to TRIPLE your impact ❤️
WE. LOVE. TO. PARTY 🥳 

Fully hosted, cupcaked, ballooned birthday parties are our thang!! 

Oh… And personalised exhibits, private rooms, party bags, children’s food packs, all dietaries catered, gourmet adult platters, family dance parties, coffee tabs, bubbles and beers, and SMASHINGS of fun!!! 

All parties book out roughly 8-weeks in advance. Give us a buzz if you have any questions!! xx MoPA
(Sound on) John Cleese: “Creativity is not a talent… It is a way of operating” ❤️ 

Right now at MoPA we’re curating self-expression and operating a brand new craft activity that, with the help of shape, material, and colour, challenges us to place and create a thumbprint that, although made of the very same foundations as all others, celebrates our unique perspective. Serious fun. But also serious 🧐😍🤪… FUN!