IT SOUNDS too easy to be true but, according to a new guide to object-based learning, teddy bears, shoes and toothbrushes can all be used to help children develop their powers of observation and concentration, form their own opinions and interpret the world around them.
Hands On, written by Anne Wallace and Janice Lane of Glasgow Museums and produced in partnership with the Scottish Museums Council, is aimed at the early years and primary school sectors and deals not only with objects as a resource for learning but paintings too.
Only 1,000 copies have been printed, but a downloadable version will soon be available on the museum website. "We were told by focus groups that if we simply posted it to schools, it would land on someone's desk and not be used," say the authors.
Instead, training sessions have been organised in Dundee, Glas-gow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh (the last is on June 8) for cultural co-ordinators and museums educators, who will then organise training sessions for teachers in their own areas when copies of the book will be handed out.
Although the main aim of the new guide is to get teachers to make more use of Scotland's museums and galleries, the authors recognise that organising trips is not always easy, or even possible. For that reason, and to help teachers and assistants prepare classes who will be making visits, Hands On shows how ordinary objects found in the home and school can be used to provide exciting learning opportunities for children.
The 66-page, big print book, which has been deliberately kept "text light", focuses on easy-to-follow activities and how they fit into A Curriculum for Excellence.