Experiences and educational programs found to aid imaginative play, social skills, problem solving, language development and other key abilities.

A new study has found the experiences and educational programs at the University of Wollongong’s Early Start Discovery Space help children develop imaginative play, social skills, problem solving, language development and other critical learning skills.

Early Start researchers surveyed 400 parents, grandparents and other caregivers about their child’s visits to the Discovery Space, including their favourite “experiences” (exhibits), and changes they noticed in their child as a result.

The researchers then conducted 18 focus groups (involving 49 caregivers) and 19 one-on-one interviews to explore further how the Discovery Space assisted in the development of early learning skills and the ways in which children used the Space.

The study is published in The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum.

Early Start Discovery Space opened in 2015 as a place where children from birth to 10 years could learn through play and exploration in a safe and supportive setting. Its experiences have been designed in consultation with world-leading early childhood development researchers to respond to the evolving needs of children and families who attend.

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