Powerstown Educate Together National School holds it's annual Heritage Week

Iain Barber Petns

Last November Aoife McGonige from Powerstown E.T.N.S. got in touch with us to tell us about their plans to hold a Heritage Week in January. The Heritage in Schools Scheme was delighted to offer some support for the event.

For the past 3 or 4 years the school has held a week long celebration of history with Aoife at the helm!  Aoife curates a 'mini museum' of artefacts that she has collected/borrowed and invites parents to donate to the collection. The children visit the mini-museum during the week and explore the items on display: copies of old maps; a 'guess the artefact' section which is a daily display of an unusual item and the children guess what the item might have been used for; a 'guess the baby' display using photos of staff as babies - the results of which are revealed at assembly on the Friday.  Other events during the week include a visit from a Heritage in Schools Expert; Grandparents Day; Show-and-Tell (children and/or parents bring in items of historical or cultural interest) and sometimes there are even mini-archaeological indoor digs with the infant classes.

This year two Heritage in Schools Experts visited the children for their Heritage Week:

Catherine McGuinness cultivated fantastic exploratory learning in her hands-on heritage session! The children investigated a range of objects including call cards, paraffin lamp, candle holders, ink well, ink bottles, fans, shaving jug, silver serving forks, a tea chest and a stamp box dating to 10, 20, 30, 100 and 200 years ago. They examined the materials the artefacts were made from; made predictions as to what they were used for, by whom and when and gasped with delighted when learning more about the items! The opportunity to handle domestic artefacts from a broad range of history was invaluable to the children's understanding of history.

Ragnar son of Olaf (Heritage Specialist Iain Barber) literally brought Viking history alive during his interactive, in-role heritage session! Through the direct teaching portion of the visit - the foundation was laid for the children's understanding and learning about the topic of the Vikings. Building on this, Ragnar the viking paid a visit bringing the children on a wondrous journey through Viking history using story, facts, maps, artefacts and imagination. As the children handled the seemingly never-ending collection of Viking artefacts on display they became enthralled in the period, eliciting a much deeper learning than any textbook could muster!