Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Penrhyn Castle

Today the camp followed up on yesterday’s visit to the slate mine with a look at the other side of the equation. The owner of the mine built Penrhyn Castle as his family home with his money made from the slate mine as well as money he married into, and this was where today’s visit was centred. The contrast between the extremes of poverty in the mines yesterday and the absolute opulence of the mine owner who was then the 5th wealthiest man in Britain was highly evident. Unfortunately, I was unable to take cameras in so I couldn’t take any photos, but the extravagance was almost obscene! The children got to experience life in Victorian times, beginning with dressing in Victorian attire (Not the Australian state - the clothes of the period) and participated in three activities. Working in a print factory, playing with Victorian toys, and my favourite - attending a Victorian school. It was amazing to see how the children almost conformed once they had the clothes on and as soon as they were back in their own clothes they were back in 2010 mindset!

Victorian games and toys were so basic; much was left up to children’s imagination. It reminded me of much of what was said at the Mindstretchers Conference. The Victorians had to use their imagination and improvisation really added another element to learning through play which is not prevalent in today’s games. Interestingly many of the children commented on how they would prefer these games to the ones they played now. Perhaps they were just in the moment.

The day ended with a tour of the castle, followed by an hour session in a large forested adventure playground. The enthusiasm of the staff on camp is fantastic and having a teacher run a tour of a stately home as opposed to a tour guide was brilliant. He was able to put everything at the children’s level and the questions posed to them by Andrew (their teacher) made all they were seeing so relevant. A great day...even though I was teased mercilessly by the students for Australia’s 4 – 0 loss to Germany!

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Emma Strong said...

So glad you got to climb Mt Snowdon - I did that with a YHA group while at Uni. Hikes are great for building relationships. When I did 4 day hikes for my Duke of Edinburgh's Award we may have had disagreements on day one but by the end we were all working as a team. Pehrhyn Castle is amazing! Reminds me a bit of Kryal Castle in Ballarat (built by Keith Ryal), but I think Pehrhyn in a hundred times better done. My kids used to have an annual 'Miles Franklin Day' in Canberra where they dressed in clothes of 1900 and had an old fashioned day with old fashioned discipline - it was always enjoyed by all the kids, though my kids got told off for dirty finger nails. I can see an old fashioned day at Withers already...

Room 3 :) said...

Good Morning Mr Cumming,
Caleb: How was the castle?
Hayden: Have you met any new children?
Cameron: I enjoyed using the beads to make a bracelet during the NAIDOC celebrations last Friday.
Seth: How are you and Mrs Cumming going?
Thank you, speak soon.
Room 3 :)

Joan said...

Your photos are great as always - I especially like your cap :)

Stuart Cumming said...

Emma...we didnt actually climb Mr Snowdon (although we did part way the other day)..we took the train up...much easier...unfortunately we couldnt see anything up the top but it cleared a bit on the way down. It really was amazing to see the change in kids when they had the period costume on..and yes, hands and behind ears were checked to see how clean they were!

Stuart Cumming said...

Hi again Rm 3...Caleb,the castle was amazing, but sometimes too much money can be spent on a house and the workers who worked on the slate mine and had terrible working and living conditions had to walk past that house on their way to work, so that must have been terrible for them. Hayden, we have met lots of kids, but am getting to know these kids from Brighton as we are spending a lot of time with them. Cameron, glad NAIDOC celebrations went well last week and I hope to see some photos when I get back. Seth, Mr Cumming and I are going well..we miss our boys a bit, but we are having such a wonderful trip that we want to make the most of it...this is Mrs Cumming here as Mr Cumming is away for the day and I am having a day at the village hotel where we are staying. Stay warm! Mrs Cumming x


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