Young Egyptologist Workshops
The Egypt Centre has been running award winning 'Young Egyptologist' workshops for children since January 2002. Initially for the first three years we obtained funding from the lottery New Opportunities Fund (NOF) toward running the project. Now we are supported by the University and also fundraise ourselves.
Schools and other organisations from Community First areas with a high number of disadvantaged pupils are targeted (we will consider schools, and groups from outside Community First areas). Pupils may be socially or economically disadvantaged or need their confidence boosted. The scheme is a partnership programme with the City and County of Swansea and so we have had advice and support from teachers who are asked to select pupils whom they think would most benefit. We provide a mini bus with escort pick up and drop off children from their school as well as a buffet lunch.
Each month, during term time, one school selects 14 children to attend the workshops for two consecutive Saturdays. The children are given various fun activities to do – taking the innards out of the dummy mummy to practice embalming and dressing up as ancient Egyptians are extremely popular! We also allow the handling of real Egyptian objects and other activities include going to ‘scribe school’ and learning to write their names in hieroglyphs, learning about ancient Egyptian animals and Gods as well as playing ancient games! There are lots of art and craft activities and the resultant objects are proudly taken home.
At the end of the 2 days we have a presentation ceremony. The children's relatives, as well as their teachers are invited to see each child have their moment of glory as they receive their well-earned certificates! Many of these children and their families have never set foot in a museum before, let alone one on a university campus! However, the initial apprehension is soon overcome by the children’s excitement. The workshops are accredited with the Children's University Swansea (10 credits).
Our aim is to improve literacy and numeracy but most importantly to build confidence and self esteem. Child friendly questionnaires help us judge success or failure, other evidence is more individual. We received a letter from one teacher saying that a particular child’s attitude to learning had changed so dramatically that she was now giving class talks on Egyptology and researching the subject in her own time!
Wendy Goodridge administers the Young Egyptologist workshops. One leader and three Assistants supervise the activities. All of these are ex-volunteers, now employed part-time. All staff are fully-enhanced police checked.