Most schools these days are used to working with external musicians, sports coaches, and dance teachers. But what about using an external visitor to help with your history topic?
If you want a WOW factor to your history topic, trips out of school are the obvious way to go; there are many excellent museums that cater to schools. However, trips can also be expensive, a logistical nightmare and you run the risk of losing children in the gift shop or having them run off to look at the Egyptians when they are supposed to be concentrating on Greeks.
Using an external history visitor can really engage the children in a way a museum can’t. Children can handle the artefacts, try their hand at crafts, be immersed through role play and drama, and really get a feel for life in the period. The workshop will also cover more topics and at greater depth than you can in lessons.
But how do you know you’re getting the best for your budget?
The workshop leader should be an expert in their period. They should wear authentic period costume to present workshops and bring a variety of props, artefacts and activities for use throughout the day.
Here’s five easy steps to follow when choosing a historical visitor:
- Read the website
Thoroughly checking out their website should give you a feel for the level of professionalism and you should see some photographs of the person in costume.
- Ask for references
Even if there are testimonials on their website, reputable history visitors will be more than happy to provide you with referees from schools they have previously worked with.
3 Check the details
Is the visitor insured? Will they provide a risk assessment and invoice? At what point is your booking guaranteed? Do you have to pay a deposit? Is the visitor DBS checked?
- Be prepared to pay
While there are a few people who will visit your school for free, most people will ask a fee plus expenses. As with all things in life, you gets what you pays for! Costumes, artefacts, and resources all take time and money to prepare and maintain, and overheads must be covered.
- Speak to or email the visitor personally
If the visitor is part of an agency, speak to the person who will be visiting your school. It’s important to get a feel for who that person is and if they will be right for your group.
Hopefully these tips will help you to choose the best history visitor for your topic. A good workshop can fire children’s imagination for weeks afterwards; a bad one can be dull, uninspiring and a waste of both time and money!