Living Memory

Studying events within living memory can help young children to gain an early understanding of chronology and that history is made all of the time. It also helps them to understand the world and their place within it. Through this Key Stage 1 unit of study, children are introduced to historical concepts, vocabulary and representations through exploring the ways in which life has changed over the time of their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents. This can be used to reveal aspects of national events or changes where possible. Popular areas for this topic include family, toys, holidays, the climate, technology, school, among many others.  In this section you will find articles and guidance to help you plan exciting and creative ways to introduce your children to the study of history.

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  • ‘Come all ye fisher lassies’

    Article

    When considering either ‘changes within living memory’ for Key Stage 1 or ‘an aspect or theme to develop children’s chronological understanding post 1066’ for Key Stage 2 it is important to focus on a clear observable change. This enables children to draw effective comparisons with their own experiences. Washday, bread...

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  • VE Day 75: free home learning resource

    5th May 2020

    Lots of organisations in the UK had exciting plans to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day but unfortunately many of them will not now go ahead because of the Covid-19 situation. However, that doesn’t mean that young people can’t begin to understand why the first May bank holiday has...

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  • Teaching about the Kindertransport without the Kinder

    Article

    The Kindertransport, literally ‘children’s transport’, was the rescue operation of almost 10,000 unaccompanied Jewish child refugees to Britain between December 1938 and the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939.  Many of the Kinder (children) regularly share their experiences in primary schools, where their visit is regarded as...

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  • Using the back cover image: Communications

    Article

    Exploring the everyday objects that shaped our lives in the not too distant past can prove to be exciting historical challenges for primary age children. While we might remember or be familiar with the objects and their use, they can provide confusion for children. This is in part because of...

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  • The Phoney War: teaching WWII

    Article

    See also: Incorporating WWII into your local history work Children in the Second World War - lesson plan The Blitz: all we need to know about WWII? - scheme of work The term ‘phoney war’ refers to the period at the beginning of WWII between September 1939 and April 1940 when there...

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  • The Blitz: All we need to know about World War II?

    Article

    The Blitz of 1940 is certainly a significant event in Britain’s past, one which has repeatedly been drawn upon as a symbol of national consciousness. It was a time when most of Europe had been defeated by the Nazi regime in Germany, typically through ‘Blitzkrieg’ – or lightning war methods...

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  • Ideas for assemblies: LGBT History Month

    Article

    LGBT History Month was established in 2004. It not only raises awareness of discrimination still faced by the LGBT+ community but also celebrates LGBT+ people and their achievements. February is LGBT History Month and its theme this year was ‘History: Peace, Reconciliation, and Activism’. 

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  • Using the back cover image: Lest We Forget

    Article

    Over the past four years the nation has been commemorating the centenary of the First World War. From soldiers, women, animals, technology and much more… we researched, filmed, documented and preserved. On 11 November, 100 years since the agreement to end hostilities, we commemorated the Armistice. But what can we...

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  • Women in parliament since 1918

    Article

    At the 1918 election just one woman, Constance Markievicz, won a seat, in Dublin, for Sinn Fein. She was in prison at the time. At the time, of course, the whole of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. All 73 Sinn Fein MPs refused to take up their seats, and...

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  • World War I: widening relevance in the modern world

    Article

    Article from Primary History 79 Hayyan Bhabha introduces a project that is using newly-discovered documents to show the contribution of Allied Muslim soldiers in the First World War, with the aim of developing empathy, mutual respect and religious understanding in young children of all ages. At a time of rising nationalism across the...

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  • ‘So why did they go into hiding?’ Anne Frank in her historical and social context

    Article

    All too often Anne Frank becomes a symbol, used to show ‘the triumph of hope over evil’, even though she was killed during the Holocaust. Sometimes she is quoted utterly out of context to provide uplifting sentiments, or short phrases with redemptive messages.  What this lesson sets out to do...

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  • Incorporating the Second World War into your local history work

    Article

    The 2018 primary summer resource for members is bursting with practical ideas on how to incorporate the Second World War into your local history work. September 2019 is the 80th anniversary of the start of the Second World War, so what better time to start thinking about how to embed this...

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  • What can you do with an old postcard?

    Article

    Whether looking at ‘events in living memory’ at Key Stage 1, or a local history study at Key Stage 2, old postcards are extremely useful. They are also relatively cheap and easy to get hold of. One aspect that can easily be explored using old postcards is evidence - they are an...

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  • Here comes the ‘60s

    Article

    The 1960s were a decade of great change in Britain. The previous decade had seen America begin its gradual global cultural domination while Britain had to revise its role from imperial state to a member of the new Commonwealth of Nations. Recovery from the war had not been easy and...

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  • Food – a theme for learning about the past

    Article

    Food is a theme that can provide many opportunities for children to develop their understanding of the past. This is a popular theme in many Early Years settings and Reception classes. It can be planned at any time of year and can be adapted in many ways.

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  • Women’s History Month: Female Voices

    Article

    March is Women’s History Month and as February 2018 also saw the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act that gave some women the vote, we at the HA know that you might be considering women’s history and possibly the story of female suffrage in school. We have produced...

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  • EYFS Medium Term Plan - Toys and Games

    Article

    This EYFS Medium Term plan is based around the theme of Toys and Games. It is designed to give teachers and early years practitioners different starting points for learning about the past, across all areas of learning. The activities could be led with a whole class or as small group...

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  • Is There a Place for The Holocaust in the Primary Curriculum?

    Article

    The Holocaust – the murder of approximately six million Jewish men, women and children by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during the Second World War – is possibly the most difficult event that any history teacher will ever have to teach. Most obviously, it can be deeply upsetting, for educators...

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  • Ideas for Assemblies: Refugee stories

    Article

    An assembly could focus on the achievements of their lives, experiences as child refugees and migrants, and how they overcame their difficulties. Their stories can be compared and contrasted with other refugees, such as children from the Kindertransport and child refugees in Europe today. It is important that children understand the term ‘refugee’...

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  • ‘Not again!’ - an additional viewpoint on using railways

    Article

    ‘Not again!’ I can remember my son muttering as his football thudded against the kitchen wall, ‘I went there in Year 2 and then in Year 4 and now I have to go there again in Year 6.’ He was referring to his school trips to the remains of the gunpowder factories in our village,...

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