The Council for British Archaeology (CBA)’s Young Archaeologists’ Club (YAC) have announced the launch of a brand-new offering: YAC After-School Clubs.
The Young Archaeologists’ Club has been running for more than 40 years, and currently takes the form of weekend clubs for 8-16-year-olds. There are today over 70 clubs throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, set up in informal learning spaces such as museums, community halls and parks, and run by dedicated volunteers. With the launch of this new offering, teachers and educational professionals will be able to set up archaeology clubs within their school setting.
YAC After-School will be an exciting new way for school-age children from year three right up until the end of secondary school to learn about archaeology and why it matters. Like the existing YAC branches, YAC After-School will approach archaeology through playful, hands-on activities, from experimental archaeology to fun craft projects, that explore all eras of human history, from the prehistoric period to the modern day.
YAC After-School Clubs will receive the same support as affiliate branches, including lots of resources to help support teachers deliver engaging club sessions. They have hundreds of activities and session plans, geared toward informal learning as well as Dig School, specifically created for schools during lockdown as an online programme of lively extra-curricular workshops themed around archaeology. After-school clubs will also have access to YAC branding, training and a whole host of member benefits for their pupils.
The YAC welcome applications from teachers, who can find relevant information get in touch on the YAC website. They also encourage parents and students to speak to their school if they would be interested in attending or setting up a branch.
Jo Kirton, the CBA’s Engagement and Delivery Manager, said “We hope that by creating an after-school network, we will be able to support teachers to introduce archaeology to young people across the UK. This move will also be key for the YAC in reaching new audiences, such as those who are not able to attend weekend clubs for all sort of reasons, or who may not traditionally engage with archaeology and heritage. By extension, it will also be a unique opportunity for the CBA to achieve one of their current main focuses: encouraging as many people as possible to experience and take part in archaeology.”
Support for the programme is being provided by CBA president, public archaeologist and broadcaster, Raksha Dave, as well as CBA Vicechair and ardent YAC supporter, Professor Carenza Lewis, of the University of Lincoln, TV’s Time Team and Dig School co-creator.
Raksha said “I’m really excited that the Young Archaeologists’ Club is now able to widen its offer and make archaeology more accessible within schools. Archaeology is a varied discipline - made of different parts and has the ability to consolidate core skills such as the sciences, art, history and geography, already taught at school. The Young Archaeologists’ Club challenges the preconception that archaeology only exists on a dig or some exotic far flung location - it is around us. Having the ability to explore schools, buildings, streets and communities that these children and young people interact with are brushes with our past - this connection with our landscape is what makes us human.”
Carenza said “All the evidence shows that young people from all backgrounds enjoy connecting with archaeology and that this is good for both their learning and for their wellbeing. Having developed Dig School online for school students during lockdown, I am delighted CBA are now offering YAC After-School. This will enable more students to have fun exploring new activities in a supported learning environment that’s accessible to everyone and can nurture a life-long, life-enhancing interest.”
The scheme will also be an opportunity for organisations who are interested in supporting the YAC, through sponsorship of YAC After-School. The CBA are interested in hearing from organisations whose interests align with those of the YAC, and who may wish to provide financial support or sponsorship for the new scheme. Interested parties are invited to get in touch with Engagement and Delivery Manager Jo Kirton.