Headteacher: Mrs J Boylan
Learning about history topics at Savile Park can be great fun. Children are inspired to research events, they love thinking about people of the past, and especially enjoy all the bits that are gory, nasty or just plain mad! It is also fantastic for using so many English, ICT, Art and collaborative skills that we just cannot ignore the wonderful advantages of learning about the past.
History can be summed up in just a few statements: ordering events in time; finding differences and similarities; writing and talking about the past; using different sources for information; asking and answering questions. All our classes will do all of these at some point and aim to link ‘then’ with ‘now’.
The early learning goals at EYFS are very much focused on the memories of the child. It may be that they are asked to remember a special event or routine or custom for their family. They may talk about differences between different family members or different generations.
At Key Stage 1, children are asked to learn about specific people or events that are both within and beyond living history. Popular choices include people like Neil Armstrong or Tim Peake, Mary Seacole, or Florence Nightingale. Events such as the Great Fire of London, the first aeroplane flight, or themes such as castles or toys lend themselves very well to learning about the past. One of our topics is Anne Lister with her link to Shibden Hall.
Children are also introduced to some world civilisations in history. Savile Park covers one of each section. It may depend on the period of history most relevant to the children themselves.
Educational visits form a vital part of engaging children in History and examples of visits and workshops include Cliffe Castle in Keighley as part of the Stone Age dig, Halifax Piece Hall and Shibden Hall as part of the local history of Halifax, Bradford Media Museum as part of music through the ages and Technology through time, unpacking evacuee suitcases at The Imperial War Museum, a day in role at a mummification workshops and special visitors coming in to share personal histories of the local area.
Often there will be a history day at Savile Park. Whilst you may groan when you get the letter, children will learn so much more by being involved with the past, than just from writing about the past. These days also provide something to remember and a link with the history being learnt. Teachers also love parents and grandparents who are prepared to come in and help on history days, or who can come and talk to a class if they have a specific knowledge about a period of history — for example, life before the internet (yes, this does now count as history!), the moon landings, or rationing.
Another way to help is to visit museums, historic houses and talk about the topics that they are doing. The children who love history are often the ones who have seen a love of the past in their parents. There are many free museums, especially in the bigger cities. Use them as a resource and spend quality time sharing the past together. Otherwise, watch age-appropriate history programmes on TV.
There are some fantastic children’s books based in the past. Whilst these are often fiction, there will be facts and figures in the books that children will remember. Some good examples include: anything by Caroline Lawrence (the Roman Mysteries), Goodnight Mr Tom (WW2 and evacuation), Stig of the Dump (Clive King) and picture books or non-fiction books that you can share at bedtime.
Finally, if all else fails, embrace the Horrible Histories approach and go for the gross! Knowing about toilet etiquette in Roman times, that the Ancient Greek men did sports naked, or that the Ancient Egyptians used to hook the brains of dead people out through their nose before mummification will be enough to liven up any conversation about history!