Argh! Primary students enjoy learning from the world of pirates

Lower primary school students have been learning the ropes from pirates as part of a charity-based educational programme.

Bermuda Education Network and the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute, one of the partners in its Horizons Programme, collaborated in the piracy programme to help teach literacy and other subjects through maritime topics in an entertaining way.

Northlands students learned about piracy through the Horizons Programme
SGPS students learned about piracy through the Horizons Programme

Attending pirate lessons at BUEI, Dockyard and aboard the Spirit of Bermuda, 199 children from 14 school groups took part.

Becky Ausenda, BEN’s founder, said: “Young children can learn a lot about the world through the lens of piracy. For example, the pirates’ codes of conduct teaches basic concepts of social equity and the topic of scurvy is an engaging topic for exploring nutrition and malnutrition.

“Our key focus is literacy so a further reason we are teaching about piracy is to provide an exciting topic for young children to write about in their journals and personal narratives as part of the English Language Arts curriculum.”

Karla Lacey, BUEI chief executive, added: “We were very happy to collaborate with BEN on this education project to introduce young children to the subject of piracy as BUEI’s collection includes some exciting maritime artefacts as well as our fun Nathanial North puppet.

“The Teddy Tucker cross exhibit and other treasures are very effective for capturing the children’s imagination.”

Hannah Horsfield, BUEI’s education programme co-ordinator, designed the field trip lesson which provided insights into life on a pirate ship. Ms Horsfield, who is a former sailing instructor, incorporated movement including a game of Captain’s Coming, and shared her extensive knowledge of sailing and maritime history.

Two of the lessons took place on the Spirit of Bermuda, which features the Bermuda sloop rig design favoured by pirates owing to its speed and manoeuvrability.

Jamila Hanley, on-board educator at the Bermuda Sloop Foundation, assisted with a trial run with St George’s Preparatory School and Northlands Primary School students.

The three charities hope to use the Spirit of Bermuda for future primary pirate lessons.

The Horizons Programme has benefited from sponsorship from Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropy, the Peter Cundill Foundation, Validus, Ascot, Sompo, Wilton Re and Kattegat Ltd, which pays for minibus transport and other costs involved in field trip. There is additional support from law firm Conyers, which purchased picture books to accompany the social studies units of the programme.

This support has enabled BEN to reach a “major milestone” this year of offering the Horizons Programme to all 18 public primary schools and to cover year groups P2 to P6.

Kelly Rodday, BEN’s content designer, said: “BEN is passionate about creating exciting learning experiences for children and we find that combining science and history is a very powerful way to boost children’s understanding of both subjects.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to pull from the expertise at BUEI and the Bermuda Sloop Foundation and provide all these resources free of charge to public primary schools.”

Sarah Lagan Updated: Nov 23, 2022 07:53 AM