Heritage in schools - What do my surroundings mean to me?
One of the core functions of the Heritage Council is defined as promoting interest, education, pride in, and facilitating the enjoyment of, national heritage.
The Heritage in Schools Scheme initiated by the Heritage Council is undoubtedly one of its most successful projects; both in fulfilling its role under the Heritage Act and in helping a very important group in society enjoy their heritage. For a number of years, the Heritage Council and the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) have co-operated in this scheme, which makes a panel of heritage specialists available for visits to primary schools.
A directory of heritage specialists is published each year, which includes names and contact details of individuals who are experts on various aspects of Ireland’s heritage, many of whom have experience of working in a classroom situation, and who have agreed to take part in the scheme.
A total of 26 new specialists have been added to this year’s list. Among the heritage specialists for the Mayo area is Brian Hoban, Marine and Countryside Guide, who has been operating as a Bord Failte Approved Guide for a number of years.
Brian has been involved for over four years in local history research and promotion of heritage and environmental awareness. His interests vary including local history, folklore, place names and nature.
A visit from Brian may consist of a field trip to local historical sites with discussion on local folklore and place names. The relationship between landscape and history will also be explored, especially in the context of a "sense of place".
Brian can also undertake with the children, a study of the built and rural landscape referring to various habitats and an interactive field study of flora and fauna. Issues regarding waste and conservation will also be included. His presentations will appeal especially from 3rd to 6th classes in the primary schools and will be tailored to fit in with the objectives of the new Social Environment and Scientific Education (SESE) for primary schools.
The value of the Heritage in Schools scheme is in the richness and depth of knowledge it makes available to children, and its expansion is well timed in concurrence with the phased introduction of the new SESE curriculum. The scheme supports the stated aims and objectives of the SESE curriculum and provides an additional educational tool for teachers. The primary aim of the scheme is to raise awareness of the natural and built heritage among children, teachers, and parents.
Further information from:
Brian Hoban, Marine & Countryside Guide,