Heritage in Schools
The Heritage in Schools scheme offers a panel of heritage specialists who will, at the request of a teacher, visit a primary school to work directly with the children.
Specialists are listed in the Heritage in Schools Directory which is updated annually and sent to all primary schools in the country. The booking form is included in the directory. The visit is part funded by the school and the remaining fee plus expenses are funded by the Heritage Council.
A total of 88 heritage specialists are listed in the directory. Their areas of expertise range from bats to whales, from Vikings to the history of bread, from story telling to traditional dance, and from charcoal making to military heritage. Specialists usually conduct their visits in or close to their own county, although many are prepared to travel.
The directory indicates whether specialists are willing to undertake their visit through English or Irish. All of the specialists have been trained to communicate effectively with children.
The nature of the visit is as varied as the range of topics offered. The visit can be planned by teacher and specialist together. Many visits include a field trip, weather permitting, although some are exclusively classroom based and may involve;
- Appearances of characters from history
- Slide Shows
Some specialists conduct a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities.
All visits will aim to give children and teachers a first hand experience of their heritage. Examples include;
- Handling a medieval sword and shield
- Learning to spin wool
- Making prehistoric musical instruments
- Learning to listen out for common birds
- The value of the Heritage in Schools scheme is in the richness and depth of knowledge it makes available to children
- Its expansion is well timed in concurrence with the phased introduction of the new Social Environment and Scientific Education (SESE) curriculum.
- The scheme supports the stated aims and objectives of the SESE curriculum and provides an additional education tool for teachers.
- The primary aim of the scheme is to raise awareness of the natural and built heritage among children, teachers and parents.
- The scheme hopes to establish a real understanding of heritage in our primary schools, to encourage children to leave the classroom and enjoy a first hand experience of their local heritage, and open children’s eyes to the world around them.