Living museum created by children in Steyning

Paul Norris, Joan Denwood and Chris Tod from Steyning Museum with  pupils SR1503689

Paul Norris, Joan Denwood and Chris Tod from Steyning Museum with pupils SR1503689

  • New way of working at Steyning Primary School
  • Enterprise projects enable children to put skills into practice
  • Strong community links gave ‘a real sense of purpose’
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PUPILS in Steyning created a living museum to show the town their work over the last term.

The two-day exhibition was the culmination of Steyning Primary School’s first enterprise project, a new way of working for pupils and teachers.

Tom Newling, key stage two team leader, explained the school, in Shooting Field, had decided to draw all the subjects together under one topic for different year groups.

“As a school, we have made a decision to take on big projects with an enterprise setting,” he said.

“This enables the children to develop their understanding, learn skills have a purpose, and be able to apply what they have learned in subjects like maths, English and art to real life situations. This is now happening across the school.”

In years three and four, the children created a living museum on Thursday and Friday, inviting people from care homes, playgroups and other groups in the town, parents and grandparents to visit.

Dan with the model aeroplane he made SR1503685

Dan with the model aeroplane he made SR1503685

Mr Newling said: “The children are part of the exhibition, in a way. We made it a child-friendly museum with interactive exhibits, like a photo booth and interactive power point presentations.”

Joan Denwood, education officer at Steyning Museum, has been working with the children since the project started in January.

She talked to the children about how to run a museum and helped set up a group of eight trustees, with two children from each class, who helped to form how the living museum would look.

Mrs Denwood cut a ribbon to officially opened the museum, which Mr Newling said had ‘given it a real sense of purpose’.

They decided what kind of rooms the museum would have, like rationing, the Blitz, evacuation, uniforms and ‘our stories’

Tom Newling, key stage two team leader

Close community links continued throughout the term, with grandparents going in to school to tell the children their stories from the war. Many of them spoke about their own childhood hobbies, like collecting shells on the Downs.

The children worked on a giant Spitfire model as a centrepiece and created a variety of displays in different classrooms.

“They decided what kind of rooms the museum would have, like rationing, the Blitz, evacuation, uniforms and ‘our stories’,” explained Mr Newling.

“There was also a ‘dig for victory’ area outside, dance performances in the studio, a café and shop. The children wanted all these things.”

Saluting the giant Spitfire model SUS-150322-164223001

Saluting the giant Spitfire model SUS-150322-164223001

Items like cards, bookmarks and placemats were made by the children to sell in the shop, with profits going to Steyning Museum.