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World War II Air Raid Shelters

Wow! What a fantastic trip we have had today to the World War II air shelters in Stockport. The children were placed in the scenario that they were evacuees at the start of the war. They were taken to a place where they were shown how to stay safe during the war. They were shown how to put on gas masks and how to recognise the different types of gas masks. They were shown what type of bombs might be falling, what an air raid siren sounded like, what the black out looked like and about the type of people that would help them during the war. In the second room, they were shown what the homefront was like. The kind of topics covered included rationing, make do and mend, food, Jobs for people to help with the war, the type of close people wore, Music of the period and general household chores such as cleaning the rugs. Within the evacuee scenario and role play, this was to prepare them for when their new parents selected them.

After the children had eaten their dinner they got the chance to play some World War II type games. They had no instructions and therefore needed to work out how to play them, or needed to invent their own games with the resources they were given.

During our afternoon session, they were taken, still in the scenario, down to the public air raid shelters. They were taught how they should behave during a raid and all the kind of things that should be done while in the air raid shelter. They found out that up to 4000 people could shelter from an air raid during the war. They also learned about the conditions during a raid; this included things like how people slept, what people ate, what they did they were sick or pregnant, how safe they were due to the construction and what would happen if any bombs were dropped around them.

The children enjoyed this experience a lot. The children and grown ups alike, actually learned what the feeling of being evacuee was truly like. The actors were so convincing that some of the children actually thought we were going to leave them with a new family tonight (You may get more hugs tonight than you expected). Even some of the teachers became emotional at the thought of leaving the children behind (after being in role all day, everything seemed real!)

We did reassure the children that they were returning home, but some of them were in role so much that they became very emotional. We discussed how by feeling those emotions, they were able to put emaelves in the shoes of the evacuees. We are hoping to include some of these feelings in our writing over the next few weeks.

It was also commented on how well behaved they were and how well the children listened to the people that were speaking. Well done year 5.

A very deep, moving and memorable day which the children thoroughly enjoyed!

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