Big ideas, little people and craft: PlayUP at the Museum of Australian Democracy

Brooke Treble

PlayUP Facilitator, Museum of Australian Democracy

PlayUP is a children’s exhibition designed around constructivist values and play-based learning. Based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the exhibition involves hands-on exhibits that encourage children to learn about their rights and responsibilities, and it also includes a daily facilitated craft program structured around the UN’s International Days. Within these daily programs, young visitors explore important issues while drawing, collaging or making craft objects. Facilitated craft in PlayUP is able to break down barriers to learning within the museum context, through flexible, creative and consistent programming and by encouraging intergenerational participation.

Children sit alongside adults around a truly democratic, purpose-built table, where they are encouraged to engage with big ideas while creating together. Imagination is of utmost importance and the facilitator guides the discussion by asking questions, becoming a ‘co-learner’ alongside the children and thereby relinquishing leadership of the program. Consistency ensures that children feel comfortable with the facilitator and with whatever content is presented each week. The flexibility of the programs and the facilitator ensures that children are given genuine choices within their learning, encouraging ownership and fostering a sense of belonging. Facilitated craft at PlayUP has been immensely popular with visitors and is already beginning to transform minds, not just those of children and parents, but also within the Museum.




PlayUP: The Right to Have an Opinion and Be Heard