The phrase ‘it’s all Greek to me’ is often used to signify not understanding a topic, but that could not be further from the truth at Salfords Primary School in Redhill where pupils have recently completed a major project studying Ancient Greece.
Under the guidance of teachers Cathy Marijnen and Becca Rose, students in Year Four learnt about everything from the ancient gods to how to run their own restaurant and to deal with awkward customers – played by members of school staff.
“We aimed to make the project as cross-curricular as possible, with Greek-related topics popping up all across the school, and I think it’s worked really well,” said Mrs Marijnen. “We gave the children some say in setting some of the guidelines, and started out by getting them to design their own top trump cards of the Greek gods, which incorporated literacy and numeracy. In history, we looked at the work of archaeologists and studied the Greek diet."
Bringing things up to date, the children were also involved in a project around one of the country’s most enduring exports – its cuisine – and in doing this, they went through the experience of setting up their own restaurant.
“That was great fun, and something we managed to utilise in all kinds of ways,” Mrs Marijnen explained. “For two weeks beforehand the children were using their maths lessons to focus on money-handling skills, and then they had to choose what was going to be on the menu. Once the restaurant opened for business, we got some staff to be customers – and just to keep the children on their toes, they started asking for discounts on their bills!”.
The Greek project is the first major curriculum-wide learning initiative undertaken since Salfords School became part of the GLF Schools group, a Surrey-based multi-academy trust which runs over a dozen schools across the south east, and is based on a model of strong collaborative working.
“The whole project was something a bit different and out of the ordinary for the children, but it was a huge success as they embraced it so well and had so much fun doing it,” said Mrs Marijnen. “We rounded things off with a dressing up day where parents were invited in to watch them parading around in Greek costume and to find out what they had been learning. It was a great way to finish a week of learning through fun, and I think it’s something they’ll remember for a long time.”
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