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2) Suggested teaching strategy

What do we want to find out about our local park?

Discuss with children what they might want to find out about the park. Questions might include:

  • Who created our park and why?
  • What did our park look like at the beginning?
  • What was in our park?
  • How did people enjoy themselves in our park? 
  • What did children do in our park?
  • What events happened in our park?
  • Who visited our park?
  • Who worked in our park?
  • What is remembered in our park?
  • How has our park changed and why?

How can we find out?

Sources will include: 

  • Old photographs and postcards
  • Books and local guides
  • Old paintings
  • Old maps and street plans
  • Old documents. These include wage bills, invoices, accounts, reports, work schedules, committee minutes, inventories, diaries, newspaper articles
  • Talking to people. Explain that memories of a park are often gathered from older people who visited the park or worked there
  • Exhibitions.

Where do we get this information?

These can be found in:

  • Libraries
  • Archives or record offices
  • Local museums or art galleries.

Collecting information about the park today

Talk with children about:

  • What do they already know about the park?
  • What is in the park?
  • What role does the park play in community life? For whom?
  • Who uses the park?
  • What do they and their families do in the park?
  • What do they like or not like about the park?

Use aerial views www.bing.com/maps/ or a plan of the park today to look at its layout and landscape.

Collect photographs of the park today to begin a display that you can add to during the project. Ask parents or send out an appeal in the school newsletter.

Local websites may have images that you can download. Many councils are keen to promote the attractions and amenities of their towns and cities.

Potential outcomes

Before planning your teaching activities, consider how children will present the eventual results of their investigation? Outcomes could include:

  • a large wall display showing how your park might have looked
  • a guidebook detailing the history of your park and how it was used
  • a trail or tape tour that takes visitors to the main historical features of your park
  • a series of information panels for areas of your park
  • an illustrated magazine article encouraging visitors to visit your park
  • a website that explains the heritage of your park
  • a short radio or film documentary about what people did in your park. Groups of children could report on different areas or aspects of the park.

As these activities involve literacy skills, look for opportunities to link with work in this subject.

Decide if children will carry out their investigation individually, in pairs or in small groups and whether all children will do the same tasks.