This year Educated by Nature are a part of the Perth National Trust Heritage Festival. We’ll be looking at ways to explore and celebrate our links to the past.
In children’s play we find there is a deep rooted instinct to create and role-play tribal communities. There is a fascination for ‘living wild’, pretending to be stranded on a deserted island or transported hundreds of years backwards in time.
On a recent visit to Jarrahdale Primary School, the year 6 teacher told us the main reason why students wanted an outdoor classroom was to learn survival skills. Although we live in a modern, western society where very few children will find themselves in a situation where they need to build a temporary shelter, source food, hunt animals and fend off waring tribes, there is still an underlying need for children to play out these scenarios and practice skills they ‘may need one day’.
For younger children, playing with tools from their great-grandparents era inspires curiosity, focus and provides great joy. At our programs we use old hand drills where the mechanisms are clearly seen. Children physically wind a handle and see the cogs turn, which also turns the drill bit around, which also causes a hole to be bored in the wood. A cast iron grinder handle is turned and an auger can be seen rolling inside which squeezes leaves and berries out through small holes as mash. These old tools connect the raw natural material and our actions with the resulting product. Many modern devices happen so quickly and the mechanics are hidden away that we lose connection with processing of materials.
Linking ourselves with our heritage, whether heritage from the very beginning of humanity or with older relatives in our family, can assist us to see how our own actions can produce a result. If we are in trouble, we can do something to save ourselves. If we live in the wild, we can do the things we need to live. With my hands I can use a tool to change a material and produce something. This gives us power. Power to change ourselves and the world around us. Power to be responsible for ourselves and others. This recognition of power grows resilience.
This April School Holidays we are offering two opportunities to explore our historical links through the Perth Heritage Festival at the Allen Park Heritage Precinct.
Mud Pies Grove: An Historic Adventure – Saturday 9th April (1-5 year olds)
KIN Village Junior: Heritage – Wednesday 20th April (4-7 year olds)