Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Children's Programs: HME Meeting Notes Monday February 24, 2014

We met at the Bread Bar on Locke Street in Hamilton. It was crowded, the food was great, and we had a great meeting!

Recommended blog post re: Preschool in a Museum

What tips would you give for children's programming?
-make sure to have back up plans
-check out the competition, no overlap
-huge lead time for registration (4-6 months in advance)
-PA days: tapers off when kids get older (at Ruthven, maybe rural is issue)
(Minimum kids 5 for PA day, but for camp can be different because they can sign up for one day, not whole week)
-March Break hard to get
-PA day hard to get away from "babysitting"
-camps: tight age ranges (4-5 yo, 6-7...)

-summer camps 6 months in advanced
-members only get advantage of early registration
-Mom bloggers; good to market to/useful for promoting
-city of Mississauga eliminating brochure for house to house delivery
-ESL citizens likely not considered in elimination of brochures, some people rely on their kids to do reading, adults maybe not comfortable asking in person
-appears to be negatively effecting enrollment in activities
-important to maintain email lists, many places going paperless
-Ruthven emails pdfs to teachers who the share it with each other
-March break programs: are the ages dropping? Ruthven camps are usually about 8-15 kids. School programs: attempts to attract specific grades, get more younger kids in spring, gr 4-7 in fall. Seems seasonal.
-Mississauga seems to be getting younger kids.
-1.5 hrs for younger kids, 2 hrs for older
-summer camps numbers seemed to be declining. Mississauga museums partnered with community centres and dance/music offers a taste of different disciplines. This has been popular
-Ruthven has 2 weeks of summer camps
-first week of July not great because of Canada day, people go away
-at the RBG, storytelling has been popular

Drop ins, camps
-depends on season. And programs where kids get dropped off pre-registration is required.
-Thursday nights first person history tours around Christmastime very popular
March break
-Mississauga doesn't do drop ins, only pre-register. Too busy
-many people are interested in family things, not just camp for kids

Summer camp
-RBG does 9 weeks, starts June 30
-Ruthven looks at nearest "competition", mostly just to see what else is out there, diversify
-RBG has 3 page registration form to cover legal/health/emergency contact issues

-High Five certified (for ages 6-9)
-before and after care, does seem to affect enrollment. Some places do offer, but have to take into account all the lieu time staff can accrue.
-camp staff can be split, that way can avoid overtime. Full time staff works with them
-Mississauga has some spaces that are just camp, others camp plus extended hours

Are there always child friendly activities at site?
-Tricky for historic homes with artifacts and sensitive textiles (example of appropriate activity is the scent activity from Mississauga)
-activities on tablets, teachers prefer no tablets because students do that all the time anyway, engage them with the space itself
-photo scavenger hunt
-engage kids verbally on guided tours, depends on interpreter
-12-15 year old leader in training at RBG, been very successful. These are kids who have been going for years. Started another program that's the gardening equivalent, but was not successful. GreenAngels fund has been successful.
-ages 3-11 gardening programs have been successful.
-maybe fan link with Mustard Seed?
-for teens using technology in the environment popular eg photography, geocaching
-sometimes gets so popular the same school want to come back with same kid next hear. Have to alter programs
-travelling programs? Many museums will do outreach, depends if you want something regular or one-shot
-combine camps more popular than strictly heritage camps. Museum studies at U of T, even McMaster has Applied Humanities. Also depends if you need to generate revenue.
-of course everything has to tie back in with mission statement
-Ruthven: can sort of wiggle around it because eg: collection with replica Rembrandts, etc...
-March break is time travel camp at Ruthven (history in March, environment in summer).
-food, medicine, where it comes from. How its processed,
-connected with conservation authority
-Plan B Organic, link with gardening groups, organic farms, come out and promote their product

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