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Unforgettable experiences await youngsters at historic farm and workhouse

PUBLISHED: 07:30 13 August 2020

The Ugly Step Sister, one of the characters youngsters can meet at Gressehhall Farm and Workhouse. Image: Norfolk Museums Service

The Ugly Step Sister, one of the characters youngsters can meet at Gressehhall Farm and Workhouse. Image: Norfolk Museums Service

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Youngsters meet unique characters and have unforgettable experiences at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse. In the latest part of a weekly series, Gressenhall’s Emily Parker explains what awaits the site’s younger visitors.

Youngsters potato picking at Gressehhall Farm and Workhouse. Image: Norfolk Museums ServiceYoungsters potato picking at Gressehhall Farm and Workhouse. Image: Norfolk Museums Service

What do Cinderella, a Second World War Women’s Land Army girl and a property developer have in common?

They are all characters which school children may meet when they visit Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse.

Gressenhall is visited by more than 10,000 school children each year.

The farm is a key part of our offer, providing wonderful opportunities to engage children of all ages with active, hands-on learning.

Children meet Cinderella and help her with the chores at Gressehhall Farm and Workhouse. Image: Norfolk Museums ServiceChildren meet Cinderella and help her with the chores at Gressehhall Farm and Workhouse. Image: Norfolk Museums Service

For Reception and key stage one children (four-to-seven year olds), the farmhouse may become Cinderella’s House as part of our Once Upon A Time day, an event which aims to inspire a love of stories.

Children meet Cinderella and help her with the chores, making sure that they hide the glass slipper from the Ugly Sisters. Unfortunately, Cinderella’s step-sisters put the children to work in the farmyard.

They milk Daisy the cow, wash clothes in preparation for the Ball and paint the walls with magic paint to impress Prince Charming!

Many key stage two children (seven-to-11 year olds) visit to find out about life in Victorian Norfolk or on the Home Front during the Second World War.

A Suffolk Punch working the field at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse. Image: Norfolk Museums ServiceA Suffolk Punch working the field at Gressenhall Farm and Workhouse. Image: Norfolk Museums Service

Generations of Norfolk school children have followed our Suffolk Punch horses out to the fields to see them in action with cart, plough or potato spinner.

Of course, they are put to work themselves and, as they pick stones or plant potatoes, we hope they will get an insight into the reality of life for the agricultural labourer.

Our ‘Homes or Habitats’ Geography event for high school children (11-to-14 year olds) uses the farm in a very different way. We pretend that a planning application has been made to build houses on the farm.

Students meet four characters with different attitudes to the development: property developer, environmentalist, farmer and low-waged worker.

They must balance the different points of view and decide what should be done in a planning enquiry at the end of the day.

These events all aim to immerse children in learning which cannot be replicated in the classroom. As can be seen, we use a lot of drama to do this, and museum staff, freelancers and learning volunteers play a whole host of different costumed characters.

However, our job is made a lot easier by having a wonderful resource like the farm at our disposal, providing an educational experience which we hope they will remember for many years.

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