Posted Thursday 23 November 2023
A trainee primary teacher from Kingston University has been running interactive workshops for young pupils across the borough to enhance the school’s inclusive curriculum and raise awareness about the importance of Black History Month.
Kiri Palmer, a second year BA Primary Teaching student, has put on several workshops for pupils during visits to four primary and secondary schools in the Kingston area this year.
Focusing on celebrating Black culture has been the focus of the workshops, which were run for up to 150 children at a time. “Celebrating Black people is at the heart of the workshops, and it’s been great to see the children so enthusiastic about elements of the culture they didn’t know about,” she said. “The workshops included everything from history, to dancing and dressing up and I believe it is crucial to share with young people these aspects of the culture in an interactive way. It was particularly great to see the pupils who were a bit hesitant at first really throw themselves into the activities.”
Some of the things the workshop included were Gumboot dancing, that originated from Black laborers in the mines of South Africa and is still popular to this day, as well as a history of hair in Black culture (entitled who wants to be a million hair). In addition to the historical elements the workshops also focused on modern celebrations of Black culture such as the Notting Hill Carnival.
Kiri has been running these workshops since 2021 with her sister Lila Palmer, who also trained as a primary school teacher at Kingston University. The workshops were originally created by Kiri and her sister when they worked together in the same school as a way to broaden pupils’ understanding of Black culture.
While these workshops are primarily run around October, when Black History Month takes place, Kiri has also visited schools outside this time of year and is continuing to visit more schools as next year goes on.
Associate professor in primary teaching at Kingston University, Banna Millar, spoke about the importance of Kiri’s work. “Kiri has worked professionally and tirelessly to create engaging, interactive and inspiring workshops and presentations in schools to promote knowledge, understanding and awareness around Black History Month,” she said. “Promoting Black History Month is fundamental to the inclusive curriculum and Kiri has demonstrated how raising awareness around Black history can be seamlessly integrated into schools to influence a love of learning.”
Associate Professor Millar was also impressed with how Kiri adapted her workshops across different age groups as well as her continued commitment to her undergraduate degree despite this extra work she took on.
As well as continuing these workshops Kiri also remains focused on becoming a fully qualified primary school teacher.