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Heritage in Schools

A summary

The directory lists over 150 heritage specialists and indicates whether they are able to undertake their visit through English or Irish. Their areas of expertise range from bats to whales, from Vikings to the history of bread, from story telling to traditional dance, and from charcoal making to military heritage. Specialists usually conduct their visits in or close to their own county, although many are prepared to travel. As one teacher pointed out:

'children's lives revolve around their locality'

so the specialists' knowledge of local heritage enhances the young people's appreciation of their surroundings.

All of the specialists have been trained to communicate effectively with children; their spontaneity and enthusiasm for their subject makes the visits a very appealing educational experience for both pupils and teachers.

Heritage In Schools Directory

The Heritage In Schools Directory lists contact details for Heritage Specialists who will, at the request of a teacher, visit a primary school to work directly with the children.  Visit the link below for more information and to find the contact details of participating heritage specialists. 

Click here to find a list of all specialists based in Co. Longford, or who cover the county. They include educators on the topics of history, science, geography, nature studies, even stamp collecting! 

What happens?

The nature of the visits is as varied as the range of topics offered. The flexible and informal nature of the scheme facilitates a wide range of approaches to practical heritage education. The exact content of the visit is planned by teacher and specialist together. While many visits include a field trip, weather permitting, some are exclusively classroom based as they may involve art, appearances of characters from history, or slide shows. Some specialists conduct a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities.

All visits aim to give children and teachers a first hand experience of their heritage, whether by handling a medieval sword and shield, by learning to spin wool, by making prehistoric musical instruments, or by learning to listen out for common birds. As one teacher said, 'A child trying on a coat of mail is worth more than ten books.'

The benefits in participating:

The value of the Heritage in Schools scheme is in the richness and depth of knowledge it makes available to children. Its expansion is well timed in concurrence with the phased introduction of the new Social, Environment and Scientific Education (SESE) curriculum.

The scheme supports the stated aims and objectives of the SESE curriculum and provides an additional educational tool for teachers. The primary aim of the scheme is to raise awareness of the natural and built heritage among children, teachers, and parents.

The scheme hopes to establish a real and vibrant understanding of heritage in our primary schools, to encourage children and teachers to leave the classroom and enjoy a first hand experience of their local heritage, and to open children's eyes to the world around them.

How to ensure a successful outcome:

  1. Obtain approval for the visit from the school principal or board of management.

  2. Select a heritage specialist from the Heritage in Schools Scheme directory.

  3. Contact the heritage specialist and arrange date, time and duration of the visit.

  4. Plan the content of the visit with the heritage specialist, and decide what preparation must be undertaken by specialist, teacher and pupils prior to the visit.

  5. Complete and return the booking form to the Professional Development Unit, INTO Head Office, 35 Parnell Square, Dublin 1. The booking form must be accompanied by a cheque of €100 or €60 made payable to INTO who administer the payment to the specialist. The payment must be made in advance of the visit.

  6. Remember that the maximum number of children participating does not exceed 30.

  7. Remember that the heritage specialist is not expected to supervise children alone, or to visit for longer than the agreed time.