Fascinating stories from the Island’s past are being brought to life for children as Jersey Heritage embarks on a fortnight of storytelling workshops in primary schools.

Storytelling for Schools, sponsored by Ogier, started on 2 November and will give KS2 pupils the opportunity to learn more about five historical stories before trying their hand at writing their own tales.

The fortnight has been organised by Helen Otterwell, Jersey Heritage’s Learning & Engagement Manager, who will be running a total of 35 workshops with 13 schools. She said: “History is all about stories, of triumph, adventure, sadness, happiness, family and friends. Jersey alone has many stories from incredible people who have lived and worked in the Island and the aim of our Storytelling fortnight is to share some of these with schoolchildren and encourage them to write their own.”

The five stories have been captured on film and are told in the first person, in character and performed by professional historical re-enactors. They are:

  • Lillie Langtry – the Victorian society beauty tells the story of her amazing life
  • Josue Nicolle – the Greffier tells the story of the cholera outbreaks in 1832 and 1849
  • Mary Grimsha – a cleaner to a king, she tells the story of when Charles II sought refuge in Jersey
  • Philippe d’Auvergne – explorer, sailor and Duke, he tells his story of shipwrecks and spies
  • Sir Hugh Calveley – Knight and Warden of the Channel Islands, he tells his story of medieval battles and Mont Orgueil Castle

Originally, the re-enactors were going to tour the schools, giving live performances in front of pupils. Helen explained that the current circumstances with the Coronavirus pandemic meant that they had to change this plan. She said: “In these changing times, we are having to adapt how we work with schools to ensure that we can still help to bring to life the Island’s history for schoolchildren. The re-enactors can’t make it over from the UK but the films they have produced as an alternative are wonderful and we think the children are going to really enjoy watching them and be inspired to write their own stories.”

Kate Kirk, Director of Marketing at Ogier, said: “We’re really proud of our long association with Jersey Heritage’s schools outreach programme. Once again, we are working with the Jersey Heritage team to find new ways to support young learners. The creation of this series of short films to help frame storytelling is a fantastic tool, which makes this programme available to every child at every school. Now more than ever before, finding dynamic ways to communicate the Island’s heritage to the Island’s schoolchildren and supporting local teachers is vital, and the team at Ogier are delighted to be part of this storytelling project.”

The five Storytelling films and a lesson plan will be available at www.jerseyheritage.org/storytelling after 13 November for any schools that were unable to take part in the workshops.