753 Benenden School Open Day Top

Evacuee Experience

Published Thursday 25th of April 2013 01:15:08 PM

Children at a Calne school stepped back in time as they learnt how families had to cope living with food rationing during the Second World War.
The pupils in Year 6 at St Margaret's Preparatory School were dressed as evacuees for the occasion, where they played the role of wartime children as part of their history studies.
The boys wore shorts, jumpers, jackets and caps while the girls dressed in woollen cardigans, dresses or skirts, knee socks and berets. Everyone had to keep their gas masks, identity papers and ration books with them at all times or risk a fine.
Two visitors, each with personal memories of the Second World War, helped add to the reality of living in the 1940s. Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall spoke about wartime rationing and discussed thrifty wartime ways to feed a family. Everyone was amazed by how far a week's rations had to stretch, and how Britain 'Dug for Victory'. Mrs Fearnley-Whittingstall, who is the grandmother of a St Margaret's pupil and mother of TV Chef Hugh, surprised the children with jam tarts that had carrots as their main ingredient. The recipes came from her book 'The Ministry of Food' published in 2010 in association with The Imperial War Museum.
Next, Margaret Elton, the mother of St Margaret's teacher Sarah Chester, told the children about her experiences of being interned by the Japanese in Shanghai when she was the same age as children in Year 6. She was held prisoner for three years without toys, books, school or medicines.
The wartime theme continued in other lessons. In English the children wrote letters home describing their wartime evacuee experiences; in geography the truly worldwide nature of the conflict was explored and in music well-known songs from the era were sung.
Mrs Chester and fellow Year 6 teacher, Laura Gordon, also dressed in period costume. Mrs Chester said: 'Everyone particularly liked 'The Siegfried Line' and 'The White Cliffs of Dover'. Overall, the day was great fun and the children learnt a lot from the experience.'
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