From farming to fairy tales: Reception and KS1 education at Gressenhall

Date Posted: 15/04/2016

School Travel Organiser finds out what educational opportunities are on offer at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse in Norfolk for Reception and Key Stage 1 pupils.

From learning how to make a cake for a Coronation Day in history, to meeting a Wicked Witch in a Literacy workshop, there is plenty of learning to be done at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.

Gressenhall, built and used during the Victorian Era, is now used as a visitor centre and attraction which lends itself to the studies of History, English, Geography, Food Technology and Science for Reception through to Key Stage 3 pupils.

The attraction is accommodated on 50 acres of countryside, and provides visiting pupils with the chance to learn about Victorian farming history in a recreated workhouse, a museum of life on the land, and a rare breed farm.

A collection of day-long workshops is available for schools. Many come with downloadable resources for teachers and students.

Gressenhall farm and workhouse

Workshop: Life in the 1950s
Subject: History

This full-day workshop uses Gressenhall Museum’s recreations of historic shops and homes to give children an evocative experience of 1950s Britain. It supports study of ‘life within living memory’ and helps children identify similarities and differences between today and the past.

During the day, the class will prepare for a Coronation party by helping with the cooking in Cherry Tree Cottage. Students will also get to ‘buy’ ingredients from the village shop, play with 1950s toys and visit 1950s rooms to see how life has changed over time.

Workshop: Once Upon A Time
Subject: Literacy

This is a hands-on session packed with exploratory activities to support class work on mythical tales and fairy stories. The workshops also promotes learning about communication and literacy.

The pupils must work out who has hidden precious objects from the (pretend) Museum of Fairytales by helping the museum curator. Children will meet the Wicked Witch, ‘make potions’ in the woods, go on a quest with Jack (of beanstalk fame) and help Cinderella keep her house clean.

Workshop: Food and Farming
Subject: History, Drama and Science

Children can discover where food comes from with an active day on the farm and in the garden.  The workshop will allow the class to observe similarities and differences between ways of life in the recent past and today. They will also get to handle objects and explore historic buildings, help identify common animals and simple food chains,and observe changes in the seasons.

Students will help a farmer with work on the Gressenhall traditional farm, meet the animals and see how to grow wheat to make bread. There will also be a drama session all about growing plants.

Gressenhall farm and workhouse

Booking a visit

All workshops are available on specific dates throughout the year, so teachers must book in advance. There are downloadable resources for some of the workshops, which range from costume suggestions prior to a visit (children are invited to dress up in costume for some of the workshops), to old propaganda to be used on return to the classroom in History lessons.

Teachers looking to book trips for Key Stage 2 and 3 pupils will find plenty of other workshops available, ranging from World War One sessions which teach about the local impact of national events during the war, to Geography sessions which encourage pupils to decide whether a piece of land is suitable for building on or not.

Teacher-led visits to Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse are also available, so a class can spend a few hours or half a day visiting rather than a full day. These shorter visits can be enhanced by an additional activity or activities like object handling, Victorian cooking, and washing clothes using old fashioned methods.

Teachers should call 01362-869251 or e-mail gressenhall.museum@norfolk.gov.uk to learn more about booking a trip to Gressenhall.

For further information visit www.museums.norfolk.gov.uk/Learning.

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