Tuesday 8 November 2011

Research Shows History Is A Thing Of The Past For British Kids !

 As a parent but also a teacher, this made me smile. I shouldn't laugh but I love it when kids come out with wrong but slightly logical statements ! I still remember someone telling me my grandad had worked in the gypsum mines and I thought it was the Egyptian mines and had visions of him digging out tunnels under the pyramids !! I love the idea of bringing history to life for kids (especially given some of the howlers !) so the book/doll range sounds brilliant (although I think they should cater for boys too).


Research amongst British children aged eight to thirteen shows their understanding of the nation’s history is limited. As well as thinking Henry VIIIth was the latest blockbuster in a series of films about a character called Henry, they also believed the Anglo Saxons were a heavy metal band and the Magna Carta a brand of ice cream.

The research was undertaken by boutique British company Daughters Of History to support the launch of their historical series of books and toys for girls. Their aim is to bring history to life through play so girls will enjoy learning about it.

The research was undertaken amongst 1000 children throughout the UK and discovered other howlers including:

•45% thought the Tudors were a make of crisps
•55% thought Queen Victoria was the pub in the TV soap Eastenders
•38% thought Winston Churchill was the bulldog from the TV advertisements for an insurance company
•80% of children thought the Battle Of Britain was a TV talent show

Queen Elizabeth II fared a lot better with 92% of children naming her as our current Monarch and 96% recognized Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

Commenting on the findings, Daughter’s Of History creator, Frances Cain, said:

“Children learn best when they’re having fun and playing. That’s why I came up with the idea of historical dolls that girls could actually play with and weren’t simply collector’s items. I was amazed to discover through our research how little children knew about their heritage – most of their awareness is driven by popular culture and the media”.

First in the series is Matilda’s Secret a hair-raising adventure set in Tudor times. The book follows the thrills and spills of 13-year-old Matilda Marchmont who is lady-in waiting to Katherine Howard.

It is no fairy tale and brings to life the brutality of the age including the execution of Katherine Howard at the end.

The book is accompanied by a stunning Matilda doll enabling girls to role-play scenes they have read about. There is also a host of other Matilda accessories to bring history to life. As well as three further costumes, there’s a keepsake book brimming with unique ideas such as a Tudor sleepover.

Daughters of History plan to release a new novel each year complete with a period doll and accessories. The roll out is in In line with Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum, as follows:

•Amelia Your Victorian Girl - 2012

•Clementine Your WW2 Girl – 2012

•Elinor Your Elizabethan Girl – 2013

•Sophia Your Georgian Girl – 2014

•Olivia Your Restoration Girl – 2014

Matilda’s Secret costs £6.99 and is available from http://www.agirlforalltime.com/  as well as selected bookstores.

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  1. I would love these, it's a great idea. I teach my 5 kids at home - so what they learn is down to me. We're covering American History at the moment as that is what is in our US curriculum, so to find some great British History books is fab. Also it's a shame how little some kids know. History is my 11 year olds favourite subject.

  2. What a great idea! I can even see myself reading these books (even though I read a lot of English historical figures biographies!). I was appalled to read the results of the survey...
    How is History taught in GB???

  3. Dorothée - You'd be shocked in France too. In my English classes, I'm frequently asked why I mention America and Australia because they don't speak English there. Many kids think New York is the captal of the States and won't believe me when I say it isn't ! The island next to the Statue of Liberty where immigrants arrived is Elvis Island ! The president who abolished slavery was Martin Luther King ! And when asked to name Australian animals, I've had pupils say giraffes and - I promise I'm not making this up !! - polar bears !!

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