New book shows how to bring history alive for primary school children About the university

Bringing History AliveUsing the local in history to inspire children’s learning is the subject of a new book published by two Greenwich academics.

Lynne Dixon and Alison Hales, both Senior Lecturers in Primary Education, wrote Bringing History Alive after realising that many teachers had little understanding of local history, nor how to approach the subject with children. Their research showed that there was no strategy, no key texts and that many approaches were disjointed.

The book takes a practical approach, with lesson guides, activities and talks. Teachers are encouraged to start with children’s local roots then broaden outwards, fitting the local history into a wider historical framework.

“We passionately believe that taking the children out of the classroom and into the community is paramount to understanding the history around them,” says Alison. “Visiting memorials, talking to older people or just discovering what’s in the neighbourhood lets them see that history is real, and helps the teacher explain national events.”

Lynne agrees. “It’s been said that ‘at the grassroots level you can find the national story’, and our book is based on that. Local history is often taught separately, but the local in history should be everywhere.”

Bringing History Alive is published by Routledge ahead of a change in the national curriculum which will see more emphasis placed on local history when teaching in primary schools. Alison and Lynne hope to encourage and support its use in the university’s partnership primary schools, and to see the approach being implemented in schools in different parts of the country as the principles apply no matter what the local area offers.

“This book shows how to use local history to teach the subject,” says Alison, “but also how to teach it well.”

Education has been running education programmes for more than 100 years and is one of the largest providers of teacher training in the country. It offers a diverse range of academic, professional and postgraduate programmes in education and childhood studies. To find out more about studying primary school teaching, see

Story by Public Relations