Look closely at what already exists in your area –whether in terms of buildings and architecture, street or road names, monuments and memorials.
Many of the schools found ways to collect old photos of the world around them and to get access to images of places that the children could recognize. This connects stories with real places in their imagination.
Several of the schools went out into their locality for inspiration.
Case Study: Laghey PS -Visit to the Argory
When Ann and Mary visited Laghey PS the children were just getting started with the project. Together they brainstormed ideas about how to kick off their research. One of many interesting things that came up during the visit was that there were twins in the class whose granny worked at the Argory, a National Trust property in the local area. Siobhan Coleman, the teacher, arranged a visit that was tailored to fit in with the 1912-1922 period of the project. During their visit, the boys and girls experienced aspects of the life of a privileged child of the house. They dressed up in clothing from the time and engaged with toys that would have been played with by the young boy who was growing up in the Argory at that time. Especially for younger children, this was a great way to engage their imagination and give them an interest in the era. Later on they remembered their trip. Click on the image below to hear more about their experiences on video.
Case Study: Glenwood PS -Woodvale Park
Children in Glenwood PS, Shankill were able to look at old photos of their area and figure out what had changed and what still existed. This was a great basis for more in-depth research. Then they went out and about in Woodvale Park with a local historian, visiting the old graveyard to look at old war graves and finding some really fascinating locations and stories including a Peace Tree from WW1 and some unique war memorials. All of this within easy walking distance of the school. Outside school, many of the children brought their parents to the locations to tell them about what they had discovered. They were able to show their teacher and even their parents places that Bobby the historian had been talking about. This kind of experience gives children ownership of the material that they are researching.
Large estates and old buildings or landmarks can be a great focal point for research as their history and their records are likely to stretch back further than that of most ordinary domestic households.
Case Study: St Joseph’s PS -Refugee
A boy in St Joseph’s NS Carrickmacross found a link between Castle Leslie, a big house in Co. Monaghan, and Belgian refugees in WW1. Click on the image to find out more.