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?
- 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 used our park?
- Who worked in our park?
- What is remembered in the park?
- What was our park used for during the two world wars?
- 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.
Where do we get this information?
These can be found in:
- Archives or record offices
Local museums or art galleries.
There is also a resource area to accompany these activities which can be found here. The resource area contains historic images, postcards, maps plans and audio files of oral histories collected from South Marine Park, South Shields.
Collecting information about the park today
Talk with children about:
- What do they already know about the park?
- What is the park like now?
- What is in the park?
- What does the park offer?
- What role does the park play in community life? For whom?
- Who comes to 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.maps.live.com 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.
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.
Will children carry out their investigation individually, in pairs or in small groups?
Will all children do the same tasks?