November 2011

In this nationwide project, involving twelve schools and education providers, the Old Royal Naval College (ORNC) learning team paired up with Year 3 Amethyst Class from Wingfield School. The project used the buildings of the ORNC, and other landmark buildings in the area, such as Laban, to encourage children to record and observe the built environment, with particular regard to their own local area.

Their local area is currently undergoing major changes as the Ferrier Estate, Kidbrooke, is one of the UK’s biggest and most run down estates, but is in the process of complete regeneration.

Working with freelance artist Caroline Dorset the children made a number of visits to the ORNC during spring term 2010, each time concentrating on different aspects of the site’s history and architecture.  Back at school the children created artworks in response to their visits, using a wide range of media clay, tile painting, printing and sketching. Each child made a box to contain their artworks, decorated on the theme of 'a room of my own'.

The project encouraged children’s observation and creative skills, and raised skills in art, observation and recording, creative writing.  It increased the general confidence of many of the children in the class, as well as making them more aware of their ability to influence and change the appearance of their own local environment.

The Engaging Places project culminated in an exhibition in the temporary exhibition gallery at the ORNC, with a launch party for all the project participants and other architectural education players.

Engaging Places is a web-based teaching resource led by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) in conjunction with English Heritage to support teaching and learning through buildings and places and encourage children to connect with their local heritage and architecture as part of the school curriculum.

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