Category Archives: Education

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We’ve been Shortlisted for a Museums + Heritage Award

Museums + Heritage AwardWe’re really excited to have been shortlisted in the Museums + Heritage Awards 2018, under the Education Initiative for our literacy theme days for primary schools. In our industry this is the equivalent to being nominated for a BAFTA, so we’re very excited and very proud of our team. We’re shortlisted with some really big names including: Leeds Museums and Galleries, Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, The Royal Parks, UCL Museums and Collections and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

To develop our literacy theme days we used the Talk4Writing approach. We focused on set texts (Wolf Brother, Goodnight Mister Tom and the Little Red Hen) which we then brought to life using characters (both actual and inferred). During our theme days children meet these characters, interact with them and re-live aspects of life ‘in the past’ within the story context.

Our collection of historic buildings and farm provide us with a unique setting to bring these stories to life. We found that children assimilate real knowledge by experiencing historical buildings with authentically dressed internal spaces: they learn ‘by stealth’ about these different periods in time while interacting with characters from a story known to them. Further details on our literacy theme days can be found here.

The winners will be announced at a glitzy award ceremony in London on the 16th May – wish us luck!


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Wolf Brother author Michelle Paver visits COAM

Wolf Brother author Michelle Paver helps literacy come alive at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Author of Wolf Brother, Michelle Paver came to Chiltern Open Air Museum in May to launch a new Wolf Brother literacy theme day. She chatted with school children about how she created her stories telling them tales of her own experiences meeting wolves and tasting seal blubber! Pupils from Booker Hill School in High Wycombe and Rickmansworth Park School took part in the launch day with Michelle and described the day as ‘a wonderful experience, full of excitement, anticipation and belief’.

Michelle’s page turning Wolf Brother book has sold over a million copies and is the first in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. The Wolf Brother story is set six thousand years ago.  Evil stalks the land, and only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it.  Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined.

Michelle Paver at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Michelle Paver with the Deer Mage at Chiltern Open Air Museum

Staff at the Museum have created the atmosphere of the story using a replica Mesolithic camp site and woodlands on the Museum’s grounds. Using actor educators, who remain in character through-out, the Wolf Brother story is brought to life, enriching children’s imaginations and immersing them in the story. During the theme day children are asked to ‘walk into the story’ and ‘live in it’ as they meet characters inferred from the Wolf Brother plot.  Through these meetings children gain some understanding of what it was like to live during the Stone Age era. They meet with the Deer Mage in his secret camp and create a totem to protect themselves against the huge evil, killer bear who is hunting Torak. They also meet with a Stone Age hunter who shows them the high value and significance placed on each part of an animal. Finally, they create a Stone Age replica weapon or a ‘journey stick’ as they travel through the Museum grounds and woodland following in the steps of Torak’s wolf cub and his ‘wolf speak’ descriptions.

Michelle Paver signing Wolf Brother books

Michelle Paver signing copies of Wolf Brother

Museum Education Officer, Cathy Silmon who has 22 years working in primary education, believes that when a story context is explored and brought to life, children feel empowered and that this ‘empowering’ then makes a real impact on the quality of their writing.

School children holding up copies of Wolf Brother

Some of the school children that met Michelle Paver at the Wolf Brother literacy theme day launch

Feedback from schools who have attended literacy theme days at the Museum has been fantastic;

The day after the trip the kids were amazing, retelling the story of Little Red Hen, even children who normally say nothing were talking and adding their own bits… We are expecting great work from them in the coming weeks.’

The Museum offers literacy theme days exploring Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian, The Little Red Hen, Goldilocks, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, The Three Little Pigs and Owl Babies. All are cross-curricular theme days that combine both history and literacy.

The Wolf Brother literacy Theme Day is now available to book.

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