Spring Celebration

The students become the teachers in a day of historical sharing

By Mariamah Mount

Charles Darwin Poster

Our annual Spring Celebration is a smorgasbord of happenings which include a sports day, an egg hunt, exhibitions, and a pot-luck lunch, to which Inwoods’ families are invited. History with a home-link was the topic for the exhibitions this year and each child chose their own subject to explore. The displays of the explorations varied greatly, including posters, drawings, photographs, models, videos. The sun was shining and much of the event was outdoors amid the springtime buds and blossoms of the beautiful Hampshire countryside. For most of the day, the students were excitedly running around showing parents and guests the school or diligently explaining their work.

Home-made Roman Chariot

At present, we have three groupings of students, and we loosely suggested different approaches for their history explorations. For the Oaks (5- to 7-year olds), we proposed looking into a time, or an era of history. Outside, there was a detailed home-made Roman chariot (made by a brother and sister), that could be ridden with a human steed. Inside, there were displays about Vikings, Celtic round-houses and aeroplanes. Having viewed the projects and their presentations their teacher observed, “There was excitement at showing their projects. I could see how carefully they had chosen how and where to set them. When this was done, they kept guard as if, after all their work, they didn't want to miss seeing when someone looked at them.”

Costumes Poster

The Elms (7- to 8-year olds) mostly explored events and discoveries. These included the invention of the telephone and the development of its design up to the present day, Pocahontas with a detailed log long-house, a Viking long ship, castles, dinosaurs, the history of clothes, princesses and the ancient Romans. When a 7-year old boy was asked what he had learned about the Vikings and their long ships while making his model with his brother, he answered that Viking girls got married at 12, that the cross used so often on the shields meant to keep away, and that the ships had different figureheads depending on what they were for, trade or war.

Joy Adamson Poster

It was suggested that the Redwoods (8- to 12-year olds) delve into the life of a historic ‘mover or shaker’. Following the interests of the students, the displays included the lives of people such as Florence Nightingale, Joy Adamson, Kashimirz Targ, Gilbert White and Alexander Bell, and ranged to World War II fashion, the Titanic, the development of Braille, plate tectonics and World War I. The information about the Titanic was presented on bunting and hung across the classroom after great discussion as to where it would be best displayed. Displays included drawings, models, home-made buttons, maps and a great-grandfather's miniature fighter plane.

Gilbert White Presentation

While walking around, the visitors and parents were impressed with the confidence with which the children shared their discoveries. The atmosphere was bubbly and purposeful, spiced by the gleeful chariot rides up and down the paths outside. While a fighter plane model was ogled at, stories about ancestors were shared. While tin-can walkie-talkies were played with, people talked about the phones they used to have in their houses. While a spaghetti-roofed roundhouse was inspected, comparisons were made to North American long-houses. One visitor told us, “I stopped to talk with a student whose subject was World War I. He told me about the causes, the involvement of his ancestors and some of the types of warfare involved. He spoke of the misery of the trenches and gave fascinating facts, such as how a half-thousand miles of trench had been dug. ‘Not a lot of people realise that’, he told me in an almost paternal tone. As he continued I began to realise I had quickly become this 9-year old's student. That became the order of the day for me as I wandered from project to project learning a great deal from the students' work. After an hour of schooling I felt impressed and educated by the Inwoods students.”