How cultural experiences can improve health and wellbeing

Early Years at the Whitworth

At the Whitworth, children take the lead. Our award-winning early years programmes are full of rich, sensory and hands-on activities, all of which are focused on early child communication and development.

Inspired by both our collection and by artists’ (and children’s) capacity for curiosity and imagination, the Whitworth is a social space that encourages cooperation, creativity and connectivity.

Explore more about our work with children and early years educators using the links below.

You can use our online booking form to arrange your visit to the Whitworth, or for more information  E-mail the learning team or call on 0161 2757453

If you and your young family are planning a visit,  find out what you can do together at the gallery in our Family section

Sign up for our Primary and Early Years e-newsletter

Winner of the Clore Award Museum Learning 2012.  Specially commended for our work with early years providers.

Early Years Atelier

Weekly multi-sensory, messy play sessions for children under 5 in our Learning Studio

Mondays, 10am-3pm.
Drop in, free (term-time only)

Early Years Atelier will be taking a short break during the February half term. The last session before half term will be on 11 February and it will return on 25 February. To find out what’s on for families over the February half term, click here.

This free, drop-in space is based on the early years philosophy of Reggio Emilia, where the atelier (or art studio) is a place for child-led artistic exploration, a laboratory for trying out ideas and playing with materials. It is not a classroom. There won’t be a teacher or any pre-designed activities. It is simply a place where children and adults can get messy, play creatively and follow their own interests.

Every week, the Clore Learning Studio will be full of materials for children to choose from. From messy materials such as paint, clay and charcoal to more unusual items such as wool, cardboard or twigs these materials will get children working creatively with both familiar and unfamiliar materials. Our studio opens directly onto an art garden, and nature is an important feature of the Early Years Atelier – rain painting, leaf collecting, shadow drawing or just looking out of the large, open doors connects the children inside to the natural world outside.

In the Atelier there will always be messy play but some weeks it might be messier than others! Here is the plan for the next few weeks so you can come prepared:

4 February – Music + special Chinese New Year Celebration performances
11 February – Clay
18 February – Half Term
25 February – Paper
04 March – Tape
11 March – Language & Communication
18 March – Reflection/ light
25 March – Nature
01 April – Printing

To see images and ideas from past Ateliers then visit and follow our Early Years Atelier blog and follow @earlyyearswhitworth on Instagram

No booking required, call 0161 275 7450 to find out more.

To find out more about the wider family programme, click here.


Art Baby

“My baby LOVES this. He is active, wide-eyed, bouncy and afterwards he sleeps! Thank you.”

Mondays (during term time)
10am-3pm, free, drop in.

Art Baby will be taking a short break during the February half-term. The last session will be on 11 February and it will return on 25 February. To find out what’s on for families over the February half term, click here.

Creative journeys start here. Sensory play in the beautiful setting of the gallery designed especially for babies and their grown ups. Come and enjoy some special time together: mums, dads, grandparents and carers are all welcome.
No booking necessary, just drop in any time between 10am and 3pm and stay for as little or as long as you like.

To see images and ideas from Art Baby and the rest of the Early Years Programme follow @earlyyearswhitworth on Instagram.


You can find an archive of Early Years work at the Museum, the Whitworth and Manchester Art gallery at: