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Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Degree in Egyptology for Children!

A Degree In Egyptology, for Children!

This morning Wendy (assistant curator), Ros (museum assistant) and Ashleigh (volunteer manager) are off to the annual award ceremony for Children’s University and I am left holding the fort. Hopefully our volunteers will be getting lots of awards.

For many years now the Egypt Centre has been running a volunteer programme for children (started by Wendy Goodridge). In 2005 Wendy, and the then volunteer manager, Stuart Williams, came back from a meeting in England (as far as I remember) about a wonderful project called ‘Children’s University’. Children were accredited for voluntary work, not just in museums but also church groups, dance groups, in fact any out-of -chool activities. Could they do the same in the Egypt Centre? To be honest I was a bit worried about the workload, but they talked me round. After all, they said, many of the modules were already set up, we could offer a whole degree in Egyptology for kids.

Wendy contacted the Local Education Authority and told them about the wonderful plan. Children’s University Swansea was born. It is part of Children’s University Wales. Children’s University in Wales awards credits to children and young people from the age of 5 to 19 who attend activities outside normal school hours.  The awards are based on the amount of time young people spend on each activity and the activities can range from football to heritage work.

At the Egypt Centre we have devised a programme of modules that cover themes such as Egyptian history, architecture, customer care, health and safety, preventative conservation and material culture.  These are for our young volunteers. Wendy has also extended the project to cover our summer workshops and also our Saturday workshops for disadvantaged children.

Several years on we have lots of modules and lots of levels. The young people that we have taking part on the project come from the local community and many of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds, many have learning difficulties, but others come from ‘typical middleclass’ backgrounds (whatever that means) with families giving lots of support and help.

So I am expecting ‘the gang’ to come back from the award ceremony hoarse with cheering our youngsters!

If you want to know more about Children’s University Swansea, here is the link.

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