I get that it's child-led.

-Siobhan Coleman, Teacher, Laghey PS

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What we are learning

This work is not just about the facts and stories that have been uncovered, although some of these are full of interest and worth: above all, the project needed to be child-led. This approach has required a huge amount of resourcefulness from all concerned, as often the material doesn’t exist in a form that is easily accessible, particularly for younger children or those with English as a second language. In this phase the role of the writer and artist was in supporting children and teachers in their research, encouraging them to dig deeper into local and family history. The aim was to empower the children as independent researchers.

As child and teacher, writer and artist, participants needed to be inventive in finding ways of discovering information, engaging with that information in a meaningful way and recording the work effectively so that it can be interpreted creatively in Phases 2 & 3.

Strong source material

No matter what period in history is being investigated, strong source material is crucial in order to catch the children’s imagination: but where to begin? The following are some of the strategies used by teachers and children in the project so far.

 

What worked for us?

ORAL HISTORY

Family stories are an amazing resource –if you have access to older family members they can really help to engage children with history…

Local heroes

Perhaps there is/ was a famous or important person in your area who was connected to a particular event in history…

Local Historians

Several schools such as Lisnafunchin NS, Glenwood PS, St Brigid’s NS and Inchicore NS made use of local historians in their research.

Under our noses

Look closely at what already exists in your area –whether in terms of buildings and architecture, street or road names, monuments and memorials…

Artefacts

If you can get your hands on them, having real objects dating back to the era is an ideal way for children to connect with the history of the time:

Make a family tree

Getting an idea of the names of great grandparents or family members who might have been alive during the time is very important if you intend to use a site like the Census…

Old Photos

These proved to be an invaluable resource in connecting children with the area and with their own family…

School Roll Books

If you have an old school nearby, you can possibly get your hands on school records from the time. These were available in Inchicore and the children did a lot of work around them…

Timeline

Several of the schools found that a timeline was useful to get the children to understand their relationship to the past and to place events from history in a different context…

Questions

This was one of the best ways to get started as the children could formulate questions from the outset…