Tuesday 26th February 2019
There were horned helmets, plaited hair, axes and thick fur coats on display on Tuesday as the children celebrated Viking Day across Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11) and took part in a series of hands-on workshops linked to our topic.
There were six workshops in total: longships, runes, jewellery, bread-making, felting and music.
The music workshop was run by Joe Carr, the curator and education director of the Red House in Aldeburgh. The children first explored some genuine historical artefacts, such as a 1000 year old comb, before playing traditional instruments. They created their own music using percussion, panpipe and a lyre – instruments the Vikings would have used themselves.
The longship workshop was an exercise in teamwork and perseverance that resulted in three marvellous models that now decorate the atrium. Each is complete with oars, a sail, Viking shields along both sides and, of course, a dragon on each prow.
In the runes workshop the children learnt about the futhark – the Norse alphabet, then created their own tablets with their own names written using runes.
The Vikings in the jewellery workshop created some beautiful brooches, and pairs of brooches linked with beads that they used to adorn their cloaks and proudly wore for the rest of the day, showing just how wealthy and prestigious they were compared to lesser Vikings!
The bread-making Vikings, led by Mrs Tooley, cooked traditional flat breads using oats rather than wheat flour. The porridge-like flavour of the bread was improved with the addition of lashings of honey and dried fruit pushed into the top of each loaf. We learned that loaves like these would have been carried by Vikings on their incredible exploratory trips across the oceans.
Mrs Stansfeld and Mrs Waring led the felting workshops. The children, starting with the basic raw material of unspun wool, first learnt to card it, then layer it and then bind it using a secret Viking combination of ingredients and techniques. The resulting felt was used to make money pouches or wrist warmers that real Vikings would have been more than familiar with.
Children always learn best when they are completely immersed in what they are doing, so dressing up, while also being great fun, is a fantastic learning experience. This became particularly apparent at the end of the day during the assembly to share all of our achievements with the school; representatives from each group were able to talk eloquently and at length about what they had learned during each workshop –such as that Viking runes were discovered by the god Odin as he hung on Yggdrasil – the world tree – for nine days.
So we offer huge thanks to all the teachers and support staff who prepared these workshops for us – and in particular to Mr Carr – and say a big well done to the children for all that they achieved.