Using cemeteries as a local history resource

Article

Bev Forrest, last updated: 6th March 2015

Stories in the Stones: using cemeteries as a local history resource

Why visit a cemetery as part of the history curriculum? Local studies now feature prominently in the primary history curriculum for both key stages. This development challenges teachers to find easilyaccessible, inexpensive and relevant resources on their doorstep. A rich resource which has traditionally been overlooked is the local churchyard or cemetery. Teachers' reluctance to take pupils on site may stem from a belief that it is not an appropriate place for children to visit. I have found, however, that this is one place where children can be introduced to discussions about death within a meaningful context. Some people feel that mourners should not come in contact with children at the cemetery. This should not be a problem as long as careful preparation is made to ensure that children work within the ‘closed' areas of the cemetery and that a clear code of conduct for pupils has been drawn up in advance.

Traditionally local authorities have been reluctant to support school visits worrying about potential hazards and possible litigation. Now, however, they are increasingly aware of the long-term benefits of...

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