Barbara Sullivan - Heritage Experts | Heritage in Schools

Barbara Sullivan

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Science, History, Geography
Curriculum Strands:
Local Studies (History), Early people and ancient societies (History), Life, society, work and culture in the past (History), Continuity and change over time (History), Human environments (Geography), Natural environments (Geography), Environmental awareness and care (Geography/Science), Living things (Science)
Counties catered for:
Carlow, Kildare, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Westmeath
Classes catered for:
All Classes

Book in-person visit

Barbara aims to support children in gaining a sense of belonging to their environment, in attributing value to their local environment and its significance through space and time.

She is a qualified Forest School leader, holds degrees in Geography and Archaeology and is a long-term volunteer for the Irish Wildlife Trust.

Barbara's aim is to combine her knowledge of the above fields to awaken children’s interest in the environment today and ‘way back when’ - something most successfully achieved through children’s direct engagement with nature; building a relationship with their immediate natural environment and recognising its value to their own lives.

In-person school visits

Choose from the following or contact Barbara for further information:

Through outdoor games and challenges, we will explore the plants and animals in your school grounds. Depending on the season, the school environment and your learning goals, we will focus on themes such as wildflowers, pollinators, trees, insect habitats, or take a more general approach to exploring your school grounds.

Where appropriate, we explore how natural resources were used by people in the past, and how they may contribute to our lives in the future. Workshops are hands-on, fostering direct engagement of all children with the chosen theme.

Each group session is structured into four parts:

  1. Connecting through games - sparking children’s interest in the subject
  2. Focusing attention on the subject - deepening their interest and focusing in on the theme
  3. Direct involvement in exploring the subject - through activities such as bug hunts, identification, crafting and creating, children become directly involved
  4. Sharing our discoveries and reflecting on them - what did we find out, how does this compare to what the other group members discovered, what does it mean?

Please do not hesitate to contact me for details on the types of activities offered in relation to Geography, Science and History - these will vary significantly depending on season, local resources and age of children taking part.

Is your school located near a natural amenity, such as a woodland, park, canal or bog? Do you want to find out more about the plants and animals that live here?

Barbara can guide you and your class on a walk where we discover local species. Older classes will learn how to correctly use identification keys, as well as equipment such as butterfly nets, bug pots, how to create a herbarium, a nature journal or how to collect native wildflower seed, and will find out how to submit information to the National Biodiversity Data Centre’s citizen science portal. Younger classes will explore their environment through nature bingo games and spotter sheets; using child friendly magnifying glasses and bug pots too.

Meeting in an outside learning space in a woodland or park makes for a little bit of adventure! The workshop content is similar to the ones on school grounds, however, we explore the environment of your local park or woodland. Children of all ages love the workshops ‘away’ from school and feedback from teachers has been that they benefit too by being shown how easy it is to bring any type of learning outdoors!

These workshops are lots of fun!

They are ideal for the reluctant participants, as we focus on practical skills while the properties and folklore of natural things are explored as we go, e.g.

  • how to make leaf prints - but learning about pigments, the plant species chosen, and their properties
  • how to make clay tiles - while learning about the plant species, properties, folklore
  • making seasonal decorations for your school and homes, while exploring traditions and folklore associated with plants
  • learning how to make natural cordage, like our ancestors would have, in order to have string or rope
  • making birds from clay, and nests from twits, learning about bird habitats and behaviour

There are lots of different ways - you don’t have to be into arts and crafts to have fun making things and learning while you do it.


  • "The feedback from children at all class levels was fantastic. The week of workshops generated a whole school interest in pollinators and nature study and a gardening group project was set up to grow flowers and vegetables."
  • "We really enjoyed Barbara’s workshop. She has an excellent rapport with the children and her style of education is fun engaging and meaningful"
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  • "The children had a wonderful week exploring nature and the environment."
  • "As always with Barbara a really fun and engaging way to learn about our natural world, past present and future." - Earth School Laois
  • "This was an excellent opportunity which all the children thoroughly enjoyed, learning through hands on experience and interacting with our natural environment brought so many different subjects to life for all the children that participated." - Longford , Westmeath Home Ed Co Op
  • "Very relaxed and enjoyable day. Barbara has a lovely relationship with the children and they had lots of fun while learning !!" - Rosenallis NS
  • "Barbara was absolutely brilliant with our special needs children. She was very patient and adapted everything to their level." - Holy Family Junior School, Portlaoise
  • "As always with Barbara a really fun and engaging way to learn about our natural world , past present and future" - Earth School Laois
  • "Barbara is an excellent forest school leader worked and responded well to all the children - this could be seen by the way the children interacted with her." - Longford , Westmeath Home Ed Co Op
  • "Barbara interacted very well with the children. They so enjoyed working outside with her. She exposed them to so much in their environment that they had hardly noticed before They especially loved the games the hunts and the art work etc." - Scoil Bhride, Offaly
  • "The girls and teachers thoroughly enjoyed the visit. Barbara has provided the teachers with plenty of teaching ideas for the future." - St Philomenas NS, Offaly
  • "Really enjoyable Very informative Children got a lot out of visit" - Scoil Bhride BNS, Offaly
  • "All children toughly enjoyed the visit, and engaged fully with the Heritage expert." - Longford, Westmeath Home Ed community
  • "Barbara is passionate about her work which easily motivated our pupils to engage in some wonderful hands on activities outdoors on our school grounds." - St Fiacc's NS, Carlow
  • "Barbara is amazing and always has a special way with the children. She is able to deliver her wealth of knowledge in an extremely child friendly manner." - St Joseph's NS, Offaly

Additional Information

  • Provides in-person visits
  • Caters for special needs
  • Provides practical/hands-on activities
  • Provides field trips