Australia’s only Children’s Museum to open in Wollongong

Early Start. University of Wollongong

Australia’s only dedicated children’s museum, and the first-of-its-kind in the world based on a campus will open to the public at the University of Wollongong (UOW) from May 20.

The Early Start Discovery Space , designed as a learning-through-play environment for children from birth to 12 years and their accompanying families, carers, educators and teachers, features custom-designed, ever-evolving, interactive experiences to inspire the imagination and ignite a life-long love of learning.

“Children can take the helm, load the ship and navigate a journey of discovery around the natural world and beyond on the eight-metre long, five metre-high HMAS Discovery; take a guided tour of the inflatable tummy, becoming a piece of food and travelling down the oesophagus into the stomach and beyond; feel the thrill of being an explorer in unknown territory by entering The Cave, which can transform from a gigantic wombat burrow to a glittering diamond mine,” said UOW in a media release.

Early Start Chief Operating Officer Ms Michelle Kellaway says the Discovery Space will be a leader in promoting the benefits of playful learning in Australia.

The Discovery Space is a fun, interactive family experience where parents are encouraged to be directly involved in their children’s learning with dedicated staff on hand to assist families to get the most out of their visit.

“For around the same as the cost of taking your kids to the movies, the Space offers an affordable educational activity for children and accompanying adults to enjoy together.”

Early childhood expert, UOW Professor of Early Start Marc de Rosnay says the Discovery Space encourages children to be active in body and mind.

“Australian children are at high risk of spending too much time sitting and staring at screens. We know that the first five years of life are especially important for child development and the Discovery Space offers a place to both learn through creative play and to learn how to play in new and engaging ways,” the father of three adds.

A destination for families and early childhood and school groups, the Discovery Space is operated and supported by the University of Wollongong and has been built with a generous $7 million contribution from the Abbott Foundation.

All proceeds from ticket and membership sales will flow into the running of the Discovery Space, which will offer memberships, casual visits, pre-school and school excursions, and children’s birthday parties.

The Discovery Space is part of the Early Start Facility (ESF), a $44M strategic teaching, research and community engagement initiative on the campus of the University of Wollongong, which also includes a multidisciplinary research facility, cutting-edge early childhood courses, and a network of 41 early childhood education and care centres across New South Wales.

Video – courtesy of the University of Wollongong.