8.0 Conclusion

As the Project has progressed, productive relationships between the schools, the Museum and the wider university community have been developed through the Reticulum Project. Visits to the Museum by school groups have been maximised by the Project's 'hands-on' approach. Children are already familiar with staff from the school visits, so they are more confident when asking questions. They come equipped with observational skills and an enhanced expectancy. Almost without exception in every school, teachers have commented that many of the children who had been most forthcoming in class discussions were at some level on the Special Needs register. The emphasis on visual and tactile stimuli initially placed all children on a 'level playing field' where skills that were not dependent on literacy were required. This, along with the children's growing realisation that in archaeology there is not always a 'right' answer, gave confidence to those who find word-based activities difficult. The confidence they gained fed into their written work and shows in the effort that many of them have made. At the same time the more able pupils have been challenged to think laterally and to deduce information from the evidence available.

The impact of visits to the Museum has not been restricted to the children. Parents or grandparents who would never have made their way into the University or Museum buildings accompanied many of the groups. One particular school had two unemployed fathers with them who were as enthralled and eager to ask questions as the pupils. The enthusiasm of the children has spread to their families, and many teachers relate incidents of children being taken to visit archaeological sites as a result of the Project, or parents being taken to the Museum of Antiquities by their children so that they could show them their 'favourite things'.

"There is scope, demand and a role for archaeology, Museums and their collections at the core of mainstream education."

Students from the Archaeology Department who have always helped with Museum visits have extended their contact with children via video-conferencing and through school visits. This has proved mutually beneficial to all concerned and taken their involvement one step further. We hope that, with the resources we are creating, the Museum will become embedded in school teaching strategies. The approach that the Project has taken has shown that there is scope, demand and a role for archaeology, Museums and their collections at the core of mainstream education.


Last updated: Tue Aug 20 2002

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