Teachers' Resources

Teach your pupils how to build a giant nest, create a butterfly garden or make their own family tree!

The resources provided here have been submitted by Heritage Experts, teachers or prepared by other educational organisations. The resources are both fun and educational and are designed to inspire and develop an appreciation and curiosity about Ireland’s wonderful natural and cultural heritage.

Resources can be searched for under the following categories:

Aistear Guidelines for Good Practice Play

Guideline / Research and Policy

Aistear is the curriculum framework for children from birth to six years in Ireland. It describes learning and development through the four interconnected themes of Well-being, Identity and Belonging, Communicating, and Exploring and Thinking. Chapter 3 – ‘Learning & Developing through Play’ outlines how play relates to these themes and how best to facilitate play among young children.

Children & the Outdoors: Research Reports (2015)

Research and Policy

The objective of this research, commissioned by the Heritage Council, was to review existing research and relevant literature around children’s relationship with the outdoors and natural heritage from a children’s rights perspective. This included examining and analysing current trends and identifying gaps in the research on this subject, particularly in the Irish context.

The Butlers of Kilkenny

Story (History), Local studies (History), Early people and ancient stories (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Eras of change and conflict (History), Politics, conflict and society (History), Continuity and change over time (History) / History

Theobald Fitzwalter, an English nobleman, came with the young Prince John, to Ireland in 1185. The prince gave Fitzwalter a large area of land and the important job of Chief Butler of Ireland. This meant that if the king was visiting Ireland, the Chief Butler had to make sure there was plenty of food and drink ready for him and for the group travelling with him. Download the full PDF below for the full story of the Butler family.

This resource encourages the children to become familiar with important events in the history of the locality, referring to the wider national context where relevant.

The Buildings We Live In

Story (History), Local studies (History), Early people and ancient stories (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Eras of change and conflict (History), Politics, conflict and society (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Materials (Science) / History

An introduction into different types of buildings that are in the locality.

Things To do
1.    Go on a building ramble. Ask the children to look at the different types of houses that are in their neighbourhood. Do a mini survey of where they live and what kind of house/ apartment they live in.
2.    Download the Front Doors worksheet below and draw a picture of four different doors they see on their way to school.
3.    Tell the three Little Pigs Story and get the children to draw the three different types of houses.

The 1947 Flood, Kilkenny

Natural environments (Geography), Human environments (Geography), Story (History), Local studies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Energy and forces (Science) / Science, History, Geography

Content of the study
Children should learn about:
1.    The cause and effect of the flood.
2.    The River Nore and how it has changed from the time of the flood.
3.    The story of the flood as told in the Kilkenny People.
4.    Memories of people about the 1947 flood.

Skills and concepts development
Children should be able to:
1.    Time and Chronology:

  • Describe events as before/after/ later/earlier
  • Use a simple timeline

2.    Change and continuity:

  • Identify features that have remained the same, for example the houses and the bridges near the river
  • Identify how the River Nore has changed

3.    Cause and effect:

  • Examine the reasons for the flood and the effect it had on Kilkenny City

4.    Using evidence:

  • Photographs of the river today
  • Photographs of the flood
  • Edited version of articles in the Kilkenny People

5.    Synthesis and Communication:

  • Communicate an awareness of the story of the flood and stories associated with it, in a variety of different ways such as drama and art.

5.    Empathy:

  • Imagine and discuss what it was like to be rescued in a boat on the evening of the flood.
  • Imagine and discuss what it was like to have your home destroyed by floodwater.

Methodologies

  • Among the methods which may be used are:
  • A story lesson based on the accounts from the Kilkenny People
  • Examining a photograph taken of the flood
  • Listening to personal memories of the flood (oral evidence)
  • Integration with other subjects: the river (Geography)

Assessment

  • Teacher observation
  • Outcomes of pupil-pupil and teacher-pupil discussion
  • Teacher-designed tasks
  • Work cards designed to help children examine the evidence

Story Time With Nature!

Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science

Shane Casey, the Biodiversity Officer for Clare County Council has provided us with some of his entertaining children's stories inspired by nature! 

Alfred's Big Adventure is all about the antics of an ant, which takes place in the great expanse of a back garden! It's a great way of engaging younger pupils with what's going on just outside their backdoor. 

The Secret Diary is aimed at slightly older children and contains some funny and engaging commentaries on the changing seasons, a really lovely way to engage children with the changes taking place in nature throughout the year. 

The Agony 'Ant' is great fun and highly entertaining. Children should get a real kick out of the disgruntled inhabitants of the natural world, including a very upset tree who wants advice on how to rid himself of the nesting 'squatters' on his branches!

Stepping Into Kilkenny's History: A Resource For Primary Schools

Story (History), Local studies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Continuity and change over time (History) / History

Published by Kilkenny Education Centre with support from the Heritage Council, this beautifully illustrated publication provides in-depth knowledge about the medieval city of Kilkenny with its narrow streets, its distinctive townscape and rich historic fabric.

Kieran’s Street Trail, Kilkenny

Story (History), Local studies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Continuity and change over time (History) / History

St. Kieran’s Street in Kilkenny is named after St. Kieran's Well and the site of an ancient church at its northern end. In times past it was named Low Lane, Back Lane and King Street. The presentation, walking trail and worksheets below allow the children to discover the rich heritage of the street first hand.

This resource ties in to the strand unit, ‘my locality throughout the ages’, which requires the children to become familiar with important events in the history of the locality, referring to the wider national context where relevant.

Make A St. Brigid’s Cross

Natural environments (Geography), Story (History), Early people and ancient stories (History), Materials (Science) / History

Saint Brigid is remembered for her spirituality, charity and compassion. Her feast day is on the 1st February, the first day of spring. It is customary on St Brigid’s Day to make a cross, known as a ‘St Brigid’s Cross’, out of rushes or reeds (other materials may be used if no rushes or reeds are available).

Once the cross is woven, it is blessed with holy water by a priest. It is then hung on the front doors of homes and left in place all year, to be burned and replaced with a newly-woven cross on the next St Brigid’s Day.

How to make a St. Brigid’s Cross
You will need:

  • bowl
  • 28 long reads or straws (if not available why not try pipe cleaners).

Instructions:

  • Position two straws to make a plus sign, putting the horizontal straw on the top. Fold the upper section of the vertical straw on top of its other half. Rotate the weave counter-clockwise 90 degrees. Repeat to fold the now-vertical straw.
  • Rotate 90 degrees counter-clockwise. Add another straw by placing it to the right of the folded vertical straw and beneath the folded horizontal straw. Fold it and rotate it again.
  • Keep repeating the process without letting the straws bunch up on top of each other. Rest the straws side by side.
  • Tie each arm 4 inches from the centre of the St. Brigid’s cross after all the straws have been added. Trim the ends of the straw.

Skellig Michael

Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science, Geography

Skellig Michael, comprising a well-preserved monastery and a remote hermitage perched on a rock in the Atlantic, is the most spectacularly situated of all the early medieval Irish monastic sites. The island’s isolation has helped to preserve and protect the monastic remains, allowing the visitor to marvel at the remarkable achievements of the monks.

Skellig Michael is also an internationally renowned site for breeding seabirds with its steep rock slopes and cliffs providing nesting places for a variety of seabirds. It is this combination of cultural and natural history which imbues the island with a strong sense of beauty and spirituality. When inscribing the site on the World Heritage List in 1996 UNESCO described Skellig Michael as a unique example of early religious settlement which illustrates, as no other site can, the extremes of Christian monasticism.

School Garden

Science, Geography

Lots of easy to understand information on planting, sowing and soil preparation for kids, and some great ideas for garden-related craft.

The Salty Sea

Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science, Geography

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink! Explaining sea water.

Things To do
1.    Explain the difference between fresh water and sea water. And try some of these experiments.
How do we know that there is salt in the sea water?
You will need:

  • bowl
  • 480 ml ocean or sea water (You can make your own by mixing 10 ml of salt with 480ml of water)

Directions:

  • Pour the water into a pan.
  • Place the pan in a warm, dry place.
  • Allow water to evaporate—this usually takes a few days.
  • Make observations.

2.    Is it easier to float in the ocean or in fresh water?

You will need:

  • 1 uncooked egg
  • 1 jar filled with fresh water
  • 1 jar filled with sea water

Directions:

  • Put the egg in the jar of fresh water.
  • Observe what happens.
  • Put the egg in the jar of ocean

Roscommon Castle

Story (History), Local studies (History), Early people and ancient stories (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Eras of change and conflict (History), Politics, conflict and society (History), Continuity and change over time (History) / History

Roscommon Castle is a dramatic and imposing 13th Century Norman Castle.  It was built in 1269 by Robert de Ufford, on lands he had seized from the Augustinian Priory. The castle has a tumultuous past which can be explored with junior level children in the presentation below.

Today, the Castle's past can be visited while enjoying adjacent Loughnaneane Park and Playground, a 14 acre recreational area.  The natural features of the park include a turlough and a wildlife conservation area which is a habitat of unique flora and fauna.

Image by Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Raptors Booket

Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science

As top predators, birds of prey, or ‘raptors’ have long been recognised as important indicators of the health of our environment. They are an essential component of a natural and well-balanced countryside. Their position at the top of the food chain also means that raptors are can be used to demonstrate a diverse range of environmental issues

However, more importantly, these top predators command a special interest and respect, particularly with children. Clare, Galway and Tipperary County Councils have collaborated with BirdWatch Ireland and with support from the Heritage Council, have developed workbooks for primary schools focused on the amazing birds of prey in Ireland, from the smallest - which is a falcon called the Merlin, to the largest - which is the enormous White-tailed Eagle.

Through animations, ecological information, fun facts and games, the different raptor species are used to introduce and explore topics such as ecosystems, food chains, conservation threats, and the importance of a healthy environment.

Watch this video piece on Hen Harriers produced by Birdwatch Ireland which was filmed in the Slieve Aughty Mountains, Co. Galway.

Planning A ‘Storywalk’

Natural environments (Geography), Human environments (Geography), Story (History), Local studies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science

This sheet contains some lovely ideas for creating an adventure with your class when out on a walk. Suggestions include questions you might ask the group, activities you can try out or simply some things to highlight to the children as you go along.

Our Wetlands Heritage

Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science) / Science, Geography

This booklet explores Ireland's wetland wildlife - everything from dragonflies, butterflies, frogs and newts to wetland birds, right up to our largest carnivore - the otter.

It also the ecosystems that wetlands provide, the associated threats and measures to ensure wetland protection for the future.

Old Stone Walls

Local studies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Materials (Science) / History

In the twentieth century, concrete walls gradually replaced traditional stone walls. In the past, the building material for walls was stone, usually from local quarries. Download the Old Stone Walls information sheet below for more information.