It is nearly the end of the first term implementing the new Primary National Curriculum. We have been apprehensive over the last year wondering what the impact would be. We have spent the last year supporting our local teachers wherever we could. Both the teachers and ourselves have found it useful to network with each other and talk through some of the issues together. We may not have solved all the issues, but at least sharing concerns can make things a little easier. We meet with our primary history co-ordinators once a term.
The impact on our school programme has been quite varied. We haven’t seen a complete drop in our Victorian based workshops, though these are now mainly booked by KS1. Some schools are using the local history element to continue to study things the children love such as Victorian Laundry, Domestic Staff Required and Living on the Land.
Our archaeology based workshops have proven to be quite popular. We introduced the Mystery of Prehistory workshop at the start of this term. We have had excellent feedback for the workshop with many liking the ‘hands-on’ and ‘investigation’ features. One teacher said they liked ‘the quick pace of the activities, they grabbed the children’s attention’. We have also seen an increase in our Anglo Saxon and Viking workshops. Both of these workshops are being redeveloped at the moment and will be enhanced ready for the new term.
The greatest development this term was the development of outdoor workshops at Normanby Hall Country Park with a literacy or science theme. The Storytelling in the Woodland workshop which was introduced during the spring term has been especially popular in the autumn. This is the first time we have delivered an outdoor session outside of spring/summer and it worked really well. The feedback for the workshop has been fantastic with comments such as ‘The workshop was hands on and allowed the children to share ideas. Children were very excited about story writing due to the workshop’. This workshop really is one that can be booked all year around as the woodland environment changes each season so the inspiration for the story telling changes. We are able to adapt the workshop if the weather is so bad that the workshop has to be brought indoors.
We also developed a new workshop at a request from a local school. This is something that we haven’t done much of before, but realise we must do this more as the new curriculum develops. The Autumn Changes workshop was introduced as a teacher had concerns that her foundation class needed a bit more support with understanding seasonal changes. The ‘hands on’ workshop explores the scientific process of changing seasons looking at what happens to the leaves and animals in the woodland. The workshop uses songs and practical activities to help the children explore the changes in the environment for themselves. We can adapt this workshop for any seasonal changes.
We will continue to respond to the feedback we receive from our local schools and develop the workshops and services that they require. It has been a tiring but exciting term as both the Museum and Schools work through the new curriculum together.