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Museum preserves community

Grangeton is a simulated community we have set up at our primary school to provide a vocational context for children's learning and to promote initiative, independence and responsibility. Children can participate in realistic enterprises and activities which provide the skills they need to become citizens.

Grangeton is managed by our elected school council and the enterprises include a museum, Parisian-style cafe, television station, radio station and a healthy eating shop.

I am overseeing the setting up of a museum which charts the school's history. With the help of Erewash Museum the children learnt how curators begin to build a collection. They designed their own object entry form and learnt how to record artefacts donated by the community. They also interviewed former pupils who attended the school when it opened in 1940 and are editing the information to present on a DVD.

The children are keen to make the museum as interactive as possible. They are working on a time tunnel of the school's history which leads to a reconstruction of a 1940s classroom for role-plays. The children will also be trained in handling artefacts so the older pupils will be able to work with key stage 1 pupils, demonstrating, for example, what flat irons or dolly sticks can tell us about homes in the past.

Recently we have worked with students and teachers from our local secondary school to promote learning across the key stages. The museum will be open to the public so the wider community can benefit.

By creating a museum about the school we aim to give children an insight into the community and their place in it. As a result the children are taking ownership of their own local history in a way that is both meaningful and exciting to them.

Sarah Crooks Teacher and history co-ordinator, Grange Primary School, Long Eaton, Derbyshire.

* The TES has an article about the Grangeton project archived at www.tes.co.uk

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