On the 27th of September 2018, Year 6 was lucky enough to go on a school trip to visit STEAM, a museum in Swindon. Dressed as evacuees, clutching their gas masks, the girls had the opportunity to experience a range of authentic World War Two scenarios, gaining a valuable insight into what life would have been like during this important time in history.
Dressed in realistic costumes of the era, the girls adopted the role of an evacuee as they embarked on a sequence of thrilling activities led by passionate storytellers, some of whom had lived through the Second World War and regaled us with their own personal memories.
Playing with simple handmade toys was a very common form of entertainment for children during this era, distracting them from the horrific experiences of wartime. Our girls had time to investigate a range of artefacts and objects and discuss their observations about the range of simple, home-made toys. A knowledgeable World War Two survivor was on hand to answer questions that the girls posed and to talk about his own life experience.
We were then able to hear an authentic air-raid siren and learn the procedure for entering the nearest Air-Raid shelter quickly and safely; Flora acted as our warden, carefully counting us in and out of the shelter. We weren’t allowed to leave until the Air Raid Warden gave the all-clear signal! It must have been very difficult spending prolonged periods of time in the cramped conditions of the air-raid shelter, although hot cups of tea would have made it slightly more bearable!
We learned about rationing and the hardships suffered during this time, but also how people pulled together and adapted, making changes to their lives. In the ‘Family Saga’ learning session, we learned how women rose to the challenge and embraced new roles during the war, taking on many professions formerly the preserve of men; they were able to become typists, tram and bus conductors, join the Armed Forces or work to keep the country fed as part of the vitally important Land Army.
All in all it was a fantastic day – full of informative experiences to really help support our learning about life during WW2. We had a really great time.
By Poppy, Zara and the Year 6 Team