For the last twelve months, we've been working with Leeds City Council's Education Officer for Parks & Countryside to develop an education 'pack' for 7 -11 year olds (Key Stage 2). It is hoped that the pack will be available on the Council’s website and be linked to the Friends' website.
Julia Wynne Thorpe is the Education Officer, and stemming from a meeting she had with Lynda Kitching in June 2011, she grasped straight away the potential for learning which the Cemetery can offer. Julia has worked as an Education Officer for Leeds City Council since 2000 and has a wealth of experience in providing hands-on education and resources for teachers for learning outside the classroom activities. She is very enthusiastic and keen to work on this project and has already recruited a volunteer, Katie Woollven, to work on the project.
We have provided several sources of reference, including the 'Surprising Lives' trail, a copy of 'To Prove I'm Not Forgot', the Education Pack which Sylvia Barnard produced about 20 years ago and lists of the wildlife and fungi to be found in the Cemetery.
Primary school teachers who decide to bring their class to Beckett Street Cemetery will be able to use the pack as a complete guide for their visit. Activities will include observation of wildlife, identifying trees and birds, artwork based on sculpture found on some of the headstones, rubbings of selected headstones, as well as discussions about customs surrounding death. There will be suggested trails for teachers to take, which will help them to use their time effectively in delivering the school curriculum for that age group. The next steps will be to trial the pack, monitor reactions and adjust if needed.
We're very hopeful that this project will encourage more young people into the Cemetery, who will return with family members to enjoy the space and learn more about it.