Hi my name is Emily, and I am a Learning Volunteer at the Charterhouse. I am currently working with Cynthia, the Learning Programme Manager, on the development and delivery of a Special Education project for children with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (PMLD).
The development phase of this project started in early 2017, during my placement at the Charterhouse as part of my MA in Museums and Galleries in Education. Jenny Cooper, Assistant Head and Expressive Arts teacher from the Village School in Brent, visited the Charterhouse to investigate a potential visit for her students. Whilst exploring the buildings, her observations on the multisensory nature of the environment showed me the ways in which history and heritage could be taught using all our senses, making even the most complex narratives accessible and enjoyable for all. Jenny was incredibly keen to work with the Charterhouse in academic year 2017-18 for an extended project focusing on their rich Medieval and Tudor history.
This first meeting was so revealing that I decided to focus on PMLD learning in museums and heritage sites for my final MA thesis. During my research phase I learnt more about the needs and priorities of this special audience, in particular about their communication system and the ways in which the environment influences their learning experience. I had the chance to meet students, teachers and museum practitioners who contributed their insights and knowledge to a hypothetical Charterhouse PMLD project, the concluding section of my thesis. The whole experience was incredibly enriching for me, both on a human and professional level.
After months of careful planning, the delivery phase of the project started in October 2017 and will last until June 2018. Cynthia and I have visited the Village School and introduced the Medieval and Tudor history of the site to the students using pictures, touching objects from the handling collection and smelling herbs from the Charterhouse gardens. We have processed as Carthusian monks through the corridors of the school, listened to historical music, and even danced and curtseyed to the rhythm of Tudor dances. It was a wonderful outreach session and both children and adults had great fun!
All is now ready for the next stage of the project, the first class visit to the Charterhouse. After months of expectation I can’t wait to see their reactions to this unique, new environment. Stay tuned!
The Charterhouse SEND programme is generously supported by the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers