In August 2009, the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) completed an 18-month archival and education project piloting the use of collections of folk song, singing games, and traditional dance with children in primary schools. Take 6 was our first national education project using materials from the unrivalled archive collections of our Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, we worked with 12 schools in Hampshire, Lancashire and London to find new ways of using materials from unique folk manuscript archival collections to support the school curriculum and celebrate local distinctiveness.
During Take 6 over 1000 children and 120 teachers took part in our school workshops. A further 4300 children and parents attended informal ‘sharing’ performances where participating children performed the folk songs and dances they had learnt, as well as sharing background information and stories about the songs, collectors and source singers, to the wider school community.
"Pupils gained a lot from the project. They learnt about a new type of song and dance and have a greater understanding of it. They also engaged with cross-curricular learning: history, PE, Geography, DT, ICT and more. The quality of the workshops and teaching was brilliant. It was amazing to see how children interacted and joined in. I learnt a lot about developing creativity." Teacher, St Paul’s CE Primary School, Camden
Learning resources were developed with participating schools, demonstrating how these heritage materials can be used within contemporary education. These resources became part of a new website www.funwithfolk.com.
For more information about the Take 6 education programme, please download this fully illustrated booklet which lists all the schools and artists who took part, as well as giving mini case studies of some of the school projects.
Are you a teacher or educator? Discover a range of brilliant EFDSS teaching resources that can help you bring folk arts education to life in your classroom or community!