This is my Jade, she’s 4 and loves adventure! I thought I might have trouble trying to get her to enjoy heritage sites with me, of course I wanted to share my love of heritage with her from the earliest age, but she loves exploring and learning just as much as me! This is Jade and me at Durham Cathedral when she was three months old…
And it’s been exploration ever since, Edinburgh Castle when she was about one…
And the National Museum of Scotland, this is my moon rock!…
This was Jade at Alnwick Castle…
And this is us at Chatsworth House…
I love Chatsworth house, its up there with my favourite Durham World Heritage Site
Anyways, sometimes it’s hard to describe why I love heritage. I can’t help it, I’m just drawn to it! My parents took me to many stately homes, and castles and museums were all part of my childhood and has a lot to do with my interest in heritage today. Exploring a place which has so much history fills me with a sense of, something bigger than just me. Realising what your ancestors did, how they lived, and what they believed in, allows you to explore your roots, makes you feel like you have roots! I love Durham World Heritage Site as it’s local to me, I feel a sense of ownership with it, and why not, it my heritage! I want Jade to feel the same. I want her to feel like she owns her heritage and explores every bit of it because what is heritage without it’s community?
The future of heritage lies in the way our children think and feel about it. It’s so important to engage future generations with heritage. I started the Culture for kids group because I know from my experience, the under fives can engage with heritage and culture! It is widely accepted a child’s personality is formed within the first five years, so exposing them to heritage is so important during this time.
The Culture for Kids group is going better than I imagined, the children enjoy it and the parent and grandparents that bring them along are very positive about the sessions. I try to engage the children using the various ways children learn.
Visual Learning: Learning through seeing
We always have lots of visual images for the children to look at and associate with the crafts we make.
Tactile Learning: Learning through touch
Children learn through exploring things with their hands. this is why crafts are a main activity in our sessions. I also like to provide sensory boxes, bags or bottles for the younger members of the group. However, all ages seem to enjoy our sensory activities!
Dyed rice at our Exploring Durham World Heritage Site Day!
Excavating Ancient Egyptian culture at our Exploring Ancient Egypt day!
Kinesthetic learning: Learning through being active
Learning through moving and doing things and hand-on activities!
Our ‘tomato’ fight, reenacting La Tomatina, Spain. From our Exploring Spain session. I have to mention here, Jade is cuddling the balloon… what can I say she loves balloons! And how cute is mini-explorer Thomas smirking at her!
Racing at our mini-olympics! Celebrating Ancient Greece and the beginnings of the olympics as we know it today at our Exploring Ancient Greece session.
Learning through listening.
This is a projection of Flamenco dancers on the wall during the session. Children could watch and listen to music and join in the dancing.
So, now it is time to take the sessions forward! I want to take the children on a trip around pelton village, where we are based as we have a long heritage here. I want to make explorer backpacks similar to those found in the Victoria Gallery and Museum (VG&M), Liverpool. They created explorer backpacks in order to encourage children to engage with exhibits they might previously not been interested in and to encourage families to learn together. These back packs, however, are aimed at five to eleven years of age. I think explorer packs would greatly improve the interaction between child and heritage even younger than this, allowing them the novelty of the torches, magnifying glasses, binoculars and so on, and the note pads to document what they discover in their own way.
I’m currently raising money to create 20 packs for our culture for kids group, to be used in exploring local heritage and I aim to arrange visits to heritage sites and museums where they can use their packs.
I have a donation page set up for fundraising for these packs… Culture for Kids – Explorer Backpacks please donate and help us take this group to the next level!
The mini-explorers are also going a sponsored art project together! This will be done on the 12th February and Pelton Community Centre has agreed to display in the centre 🙂
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