Launched in 2000, the Heritage Council's Heritage in Schools scheme provides a range of Heritage Specialists on Ireland’s natural, cultural and built heritage to visit primary schools nationwide. The Specialist's areas of expertise range from bats to whales, from Vikings to the history of bread and from story-telling to traditional music, song and dance, to mention just a few. Through the Scheme, the children develop a knowledge and appreciation for the uniqueness of their locality through trips to local parks, woods, lakes, rivers, sea-shores, old graveyards, castles or churches or other places of interest through structured field trips with a Heritage Specialists.
The new website for the scheme www.heritageinschools.ie allows primary school teachers to find heritage specialists in their area and book a school visit for their class. The website also provides a range of classroom resources like teaching children how to build a giant nest, create a butterfly garden or make their own family tree.
Currently more than 2,000 visits per year are carried out by our panel of 145 Heritage Experts. The primary aim of the Scheme is to encourage awareness of the natural and cultural world that surrounds Irish school children in their daily lives and engage them in a direct experience of this heritage. The Scheme encourages place-based and hands-on learning in the outdoor classroom whilst supporting the stated aims and objectives of the Social, Scientific and Environmental Education (SESE) curriculum.
Launching the new website Heritage Council Chairman Michael Parsons said that the Heritage in Schools Scheme is a very important part of the Council’s work to encourage access to heritage for primary school children. He said that: “Through this Scheme, we are aiming to encourage awareness of the genius of the natural and cultural world that surrounds us and engage children in a direct experience of their heritage. The Scheme also allows children to develop knowledge of and appreciation for the uniqueness of the place where they live”.
“The Council is very grateful to the panel of Heritage Experts and participating schools who work so hard to bring heritage to life for young people”, added Mr. Parsons.
The Scheme is open to all primary schools nationwide and schools are encouraged to visit the website www.heritageinschools.ie for more information.