Welcome to the Workhouse uses the setting of a workhouse (the chapel in the pit village) to immerse the students in the life and times of pauper children at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Workhouse Master and Mistress will lead the activity, starting by setting out their strict rules and high expectations. Students will be divided into two groups based on gender, as would have happened at the time. They will perform menial tasks, such as cleaning and unpicking ropes, replicating the drudgery of the Workhouse. The students will re-assemble for a lesson, before being given the opportunity to sample gruel. At the end of the activity there will be the opportunity to discuss what has happened and draw out learning points.
This activity supports students to:
- Identify and empathise with children suffering the hardships of the Workhouse.
- Explore the notion of childhood through the times by comparing and contrasting their experiences with that of the workhouse children.
Target Age: Key Stage 3 & Key Stage 4
Duration: 1 hour
Group size: Full class
Season: All year