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Cockenzie Primary School, East Lothian

Pupils at Cockenzie Primary School looking at war memorial types ©War Memorials Trust, 2017
Pupils from Cockenzie Primary School looking at inscriptions ©War Memorials Trust, 2017
Pupils at Cockenzie Primary School looking at war memorial types ©War Memorials Trust, 2017
  • County name: East Lothian
  • Group/School name: Cockenzie Primary School
  • Age group: 5 - 11
  • Group type: Primary 6

War Memorials Trust were contacted by P6 teachers at Cockenzie Primary School who were keen for our Learning Officer to visit the two classes following their topic on World War I and II.  They requested that both classes receive a session on Remembrance and what war memorials are to help them prepare for the school Remembrance Assembly which the P6 pupils would be holding.  It was hoped that the session would help pupils to consider what they had learned and relate it to the importance of war memorials.  The visit to Cockenzie was carried out by our Learning Officer as part of a longer visit to Scotland.

Both sessions began by looking at what Remembrance is, why we have Remembrance Day and what led to the first one in November 1919, the wars we remember and what happens on Remembrance Day.  Pupils were able to share their own knowledge and experiences as the session progressed. 

The sessions moved on to establish what pupils already knew about war memorials and to develop and consolidate this understanding.  This was done initially through paired discussion before giving pupils photographs of different types of memorials to help them consider that any object can be a war memorial. This led on to them writing a definition of what a war memorial is.  Pupils were then shown a wide range of memorials within the local area, some of which they recognised and one which we learnt had a pupil’s Great Uncle commemorated on it.  These photographs also allowed for discussion about what some designs and features symbolised such as the First World War period Scottish soldier with reversed arms at Prestonpans (www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/164329) which is often used as a symbol of mourning or respect.

Pupils were then involved in finding out how many war memorials there are in the UK and when they were created.  This led on to analysing some inscriptions which helped pupils to understand why communities created war memorials.  This was a really interesting part of the session as pupils were really able to focus in on specific phrases which they felt highlighted the communities underlying wishes. 

The session finished with a quiet moment of reflections where pupils read ‘For the fallen’ and thought about those who are remembered on their local war memorial in Cockenzie (www.warmemorialsonline.org.uk/memorial/169111).

Our Learning Officer was really impressed with the pupils understanding of World War I and II and the interest they showed in the information that was shared during the session.  It is hoped that their newfound knowledge will allow them to prepare a really interesting Remembrance assembly which the rest if the school will learn a lot from.

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