On Friday, Year 6 pupils visited The Somerset Rural Life Museum, near Glastonbury, to experience life as an evacuee. The museum was established on on the site of an old farm house, Abbey Farm, home of the Mapstone family, who actually took in several children and families during the Second World War.
The children were each given a label with a new identity for the day, and we role-played choosing them from a line-up, before setting off on three different workshops.
In one workshop, children had the opportunity to experience rationing, where they bought “food” with ration tokens and looked at real rationing books. They then had to plan a meal based on the rations they had bought.
Another workshop – “Dig for Victory” – allowed the pupils to learn about the “grow your own veg” campaign that was one of the most well-publicised campaigns during WW2. Here, children explored the allotments and the old potting shed, and planted a seed using newspaper. They then designed their own propaganda posters and we discussed different catchphrases and play-on-words to include – always an opportunity for an English lesson!
The clear favourite of the three, however, was the Air Raid, where children had a tour of the old farmhouse and then re-enacted an air-raid down in the cellar, just like the Mapstones used to do. Here, they listened to memories from local evacuees and then wrote letters home.
It was fascinating – and also rather humbling – to experience what so many evacuee children would have experienced all those years ago, and the children certainly boarded the coach back to school with a greater sense of appreciation for life today.
Year 6 Form Tutor