Viking School Visits
While experience of Viking life is important to understanding the Vikings, It’s also important to know that I’m able to convey that knowledge to your pupils. So you are naturally wondering what experience do I have working with schools?
Well, Lore and Saga was established in 1998 after many years of working with other educational organisations such as the National Trust and Murton Park, one of the countries best known and busiest living history education providers.
During those two decades, school visits and workshops have become the major part of my work and I now deliver school presentations on most of the 200 days or so available in the school year.
I actually stopped keeping a full count a few years back, but at that point I had presented around 2000 sessions to well over 90000 children. The majority of those presentations were Viking school visits but other topics included Romans, Celts and Pirates, both in school and on fixed heritage sites.
Probably the most important statistic though is that 72% of those school visits have been regular repeat bookings, with many of these schools describing their Viking day as an essential highlight of their school year.
The presentation begins by establishing a time frame and discussing the evidence. I will be wearing accurate clothing from the period and the equipment I will bring to support the session will all be faithful reproductions of original archaeological finds and the best up to date information.
The main body of the talk is designed to involve the children in exploring the core issues of the topic and is interactive and fast moving.
Many teachers comment on the huge amount of information that I can pack into a short space of time and, more importantly, how well the children remember it all afterwards.
It’s not all talk of course, there will be demonstrations and opportunities for the children to get involved as well.
We explore Viking life as sailors, settlers, farmers, traders and craftspeople.
Of course, when discussing the Vikings, the subject of battle and violence is unavoidable.
It can however be handled in a way that does not glorify the subject and this is the approach I prefer to take.
Warfare is shown to be only a small part of the lives of the Vikings and perhaps the least interesting or appealing.
My presentations are about Living History not Dying History.
Modern children have been brought up in a world where television is often one of their main sources of information. With many channels to choose from, videos, DVDs and game consoles all competing for attention it is not so surprising that they are less likely to sit down and search for information from a book than the children of twenty years ago.
Living history interpretation is an ideal way to engage the interest of such busy enquiring minds. By presenting them with not just an image of a historical figure but a real person that will talk and interact with them you can break down barriers to learning and present knowledge in a format that is truly memorable.
Our Viking school visits are designed to be fitted into your topic at any point, so you can either use it to reinforce your own lessons or use it as a primer to build upon.
A half day in school presentation lasts about two and a half hours, spread over a morning or afternoon. This timing can usually be fitted around your school routine.
I will normally arrive at the school to set up about an hour before the session starts and will need parking for a van and access to a space to set up, this could be a school hall or a clear space in a classroom big enough for the children, me and a lot of equipment.
If an activity day has been booked then tables and chairs will also be needed in the afternoon and these sessions often work better in a larger space like a school hall or gym although they can sometimes work in two closely situated classrooms.
Activity days are our most popular sessions and they include costume* for the children and a round-robin session of four Viking related crafts and activities in the afternoon.
All craft materials are provided and included in the booking price.
If time allows the day can be rounded off with a saga telling or open questions from the children.
My intention is to use every minute you can give me to give your children one of the best days they will ever have in school.
After two decades of providing these sessions for schools, some of the pupils I worked with when I started, are now booking me to teach the children in their own classrooms.
I believe that speaks volumes.
* Please note that due to enhanced hygiene requirements for Covid-19, we are currently unable to provide the children with costumes for our activity days.