Children’s Parliament was asked by Falkland’s Centre for Stewardship to gather children’s views and ideas about Falkland estate. The project is located in a longer-term conversation around the future direction of the estate.
From February until May 2022, Children’s Parliament worked with children from Falkland Primary School and nursery, Freuchie Primary School and nursery and Falkland House School on the Falkland Imagineers project. The children were encouraged to consider what they love about the estate at the moment and to think about ideas that would keep what they valued and to think about new ideas which could offer new, fun and interesting experiences for people of all ages.
To ensure as wide a reach as possible, Children’s Parliament also developed a session plan and resources to support nursery and school staff in the schools to run a workshop with their children. As a result, over 200 new ideas were generated – 60 of which were integrated into a Honeycomb mural by the Falkland Imagineers, the further 140+ ideas can be found by clicking the honeycell.
Working in more depth with two classes from Falkland and Freuchie Primary School, the children explored the estate with ranger Sam, listened to stories from Ninian and Elly Stuart (the hereditary keepers of Falkland Palace) and were given a mission. The mission was to interview family and friends to find out their stories about how they use the estate, what they enjoy and would not want to lose and share any ideas they had to contribute to the ideas bank. This allowed the children access to the views of people in their communities of all ages.
At the midpoint of the programme, 16 children from the three schools became our Chief Imagineers. The Imagineers’ first job was to consider all ideas gathered from the schools and decide which 60 best reflected the range of ideas and illustrations that would become part of the large wooden honeycomb to be sited on the estate as a visual representation of the children’s ideas. It was a challenging task as the children acknowledged the work and thinking that had gone into the illustrations. They took their role seriously and through a sifting process, chose their 60 images which they then transferred onto wooden honeycomb tiles using a process of chalking, tracing and painting to make the images as true to the original images as possible.
Click on the buttons on the image below to explore children’s ideas through the interactive Honeycomb gallery:
A whole community approach
The Children’s Parliament team was supported by class teachers, staff of Falkland Centre for Stewardship and local adults. A number of local adults stepped forward to join the ‘elders’ group – adults from the community who supported the children in their presentation to the wider community and who will champion the children’s vision and their involvement in the ongoing community conversations about the estate.
The children had spent time with the elders thinking about which of the ideas might be able to become ‘quick wins’ – an opportunity for Falkland Centre for Stewardship to demonstrate their thanks to the children for all their hard work alongside the Centre’s commitment to taking the children’s ideas seriously. The children and elders together presented the quick wins in our specially created beehive. See below for images of when the elder visited the Imagineers to listen to the children’s ideas, courtesy of photographer Paul Turner:
The children were invited to reflect upon their experience and learning in the project, and their relationship with Falkland more broadly, through creating and sharing a poem with their peers. A selection of the children’s poems can be found at the link.
To mark the end of the children’s investigation, the Members of Children’s Parliament and participating adult community members were celebrated at the unveiling of the finished honeycomb mural. The project created a real ‘buzz ‘about Falkland Estate and with the children’s and elders’ handover of the hive with quick wins to the Centre of Stewardship Children’s Parliament hopes that this work has the potential to spark a new, long term intergenerational community engagement and development process.
A report on the project was commissioned by Falkland Estate Trust and it can be accessed here: