The preferential task of the Dolž subsidiary primary school (Slovenia) is retaining cultural heritage. Objectives that define terms ‘past’, ‘natural heritage’ and ‘cultural heritage’ of the local village, the region and Slovenia, are written in curricula of individual subjects (nature study, society study, music, physical education). Teachers integrate elements of the cultural heritage into various thematic components of the subjects. At our school various activities, linked to the cultural heritage of the home village and the broader region, are carried out. Old folk customs, dances, children’s games are revived. Each year an exhibition of old items is prepared, and at least for one day the lessons are executed in the manner of a century ago.
Key phrases: cultural heritage, curriculum, inter-subject connection.
Dolž is a small village in the Dolenjska region, situated at the foothills of Gorjanci and offering a great view of the Novo mesto basin. In clear weather even the Kamnik-Savinja Alps can be seen. The Dolž village was first mentioned in 1581. One can claim with certainty that Dolž is a rich chest offering plenty of various cultural heritage treasures.
The school is one of the centers of activities in Dolž and it has an important influence on keeping the cultural heritage alive. Reviving this heritage and keeping it alive is the school’s preferential task.
Curriculum and cultural heritage
The curricula contains the objectives, content, didactic recommendations and knowledge standards for individual obligatory, optional and non-obligatory subjects. Teachers must follow the curricula when teaching individual subjects.
The stated objectives reveal that the term ‘heritage’ appears in the curricula of various subjects.
- Pupils can differentiate the past and the present in their lives. They know life was different in the past.
- They discover aspects of life in the past and in the present (dwelling places, nutrition, clothing, work, transportation).
- They know the meaning of heritage.
- Society study
- Pupils discover life in the past (especially in the local region) and they compare it to life in the present.
- They discover Slovenian cultural heritage and develop awareness of national and state identity.
- They explore the past by using various sources and performing various activities (field work).
- They discover past and present lifestyles.
- They establish connections between an individual and various communities, the society, and their natural and cultural environment. They compare the past heritage and the present.
- They develop a positive attitude towards the natural and cultural heritage.
- They discover the past of their local village/region through the life of its inhabitants, and they compare it to the life in the present day.
- They discover the natural and cultural heritage of their local village/region, and they understand why we must take care of it.
- Pupils develop a positive attitude towards the national music heritage.
- In group and individually they sing folk songs – relaxed and in a lively manner.
- They sing songs from the past and broaden their singing repertoire.
- They perform folk dances.
- They analize the flow of the song or an individual part with folk instruments.
- They listen to folk music with monophonic or two-part singing.
- Pupils perform chosen folk dances.
Inter-subject connections are integrated into the lessons by the teachers in a sensible manner. Thus the knowledge from various areas is connected and deepened. The above mentioned objectives show how the elements of cultural heritage can be connected and integrated into various thematic components of the lessons.
Cultural heritage-related activities at our school
According to ancient popular belief »Gregorjevo« is the first day of spring – the day when the birds »get married«. On Valentine’s day birds form pairs, while on Gregorjevo the get married. Quite a few customs related to this holiday are still alive – e.g., letting paper boats float on a river. At our school we maintain the custom from the Bela Krajina region, namely picking up the remains of the birds’ wedding. The day after Gregorjevo birds leave goodies for children who took great care for them during winter. The children look for sweets around the school building and when the treats are found they are fairly distributed and enjoyed.
- Tech Day – Corn husking
2018 was the European year of cultural heritage, and the occasion was celebrated at our school as well. As a part of the Rastoča knjiga/Growing book project a tech day was carried out. Autumnal farming customs were revived – pupils husked corn. Work was diversified by telling stories and singing songs, accompanied by an accordion player. According to the custom the children found a sweet surprise under the pile of corn. There was a feast after the work had been done – we prepared it ourselves. Useful decorative items were made of husks.
Picture 1. Corn husking
- Sports day – Old children’s games
Each year a sports day is carried out, where the pupils revive old children’s games. The pupils always participate eagerly in these activities – older pupils teach the younger ones. The games are usually played during breaks and during after-school care, as well as at home. They also ask their grandparents about the old games.
- School- and kindergarten teachers’ performance during the Week of the child
Activities during the Week of the child are also partly dedicated to maintaining the cultural heritage. Each year the school- and kindergarten teachers prepare a theatrical, puppet or dance show. Guided by a coworker we prepared a folk act called »Don’t go to school«. After the performance the children from the kindergarten and the school learned the dances and the games. The pupils wear gowns and vests during folk performances.
- Old school and mini museum
2008 saw the first »Old school week« activities at our school, held within the context of the »50 years of subsidiary schools« project. Since then every year at least one day the lessons are carried out in the manner of a hundred years ago. The pupils and the teachers wear clothes as worn in that period. The boys wear vests, the girls wear gowns – the items were sown with the parents’ help at a workshop. The lessons are carried out without modern day interactive materials, workbooks and textbooks – the pupils use only pens and notebooks. Etiquette rules that were observed at school in the past are observed. The pupils answer each question in full sentences, in each sentence they use the respectful phrase »Miss teacher«. Also important is the morning pledge to be respectful, obedient and well-behaved.
The old-style lesson was also carried out during the celebration of 90 years of the Dolž school, when the audience itself was in the role of the pupils. The lesson was focused on grammar, spelling and composition.
Each year during the week of the old school a »mini museum« opens its door. The pupils and the teachers go to dusty attics to find old items that were once used in the kitchen, during farming chores and by craftsmen. The items are carefully inspected and described, and their function is established. Individual items are also put to use. Holes were drilled with hand drills, coffee was ground with a coffee grinder, petroleum was poured into a paraffine lamp and then lit. The pupils also tried to wear a wicker basket on their heads.
Picture 2. Mini museum
One of key teaching objectives at Dolž subsidiary primary school is discovering Slovenian cultural heritage, as well as developing awareness of national and state identity. Various cultural heritage related activities and themes, that are integrated into lessons, largely contribute to the realization of this key task of our school. Pupils develop a positive attitude towards our ancestors’ history and discover life in the past and compare it to life in the present. School events for parents and other visitors are regularly made more interesting with dances, songs and games of our forefathers. The pupils like to include the elements of their home village’s cultural heritage in their leisure activities as well.
- Kurent, N. (2005). Praznično leto Slovencev: starosvetne šege in navade od pomladi do zime. Ljubljana: Družina.
- Curriculum. Society study. (2011). Ljubljana: Ministrstvo za šolstvo in šport, Zavod Republike Slovenije za šolstvo. From https://www.gov.si/assets/ministrstva/MIZS/Dokumenti/Osnovna-sola/Ucni-nacrti/obvezni/UN_druzba_OS.pdf
- Curriculum. Music. (2011). Ljubljana: Ministrstvo za šolstvo in šport, Zavod Republike Slovenije za šolstvo. From https://www.gov.si/assets/ministrstva/MIZS/Dokumenti/Osnovna-sola/Ucni-nacrti/obvezni/UN_glasbena_vzgoja.pdf
- Curriculum. Nature study. (2011). Ljubljana: Ministrstvo za šolstvo in šport, Zavod Republike Slovenije za šolstvo. From https://www.gov.si/assets/ministrstva/MIZS/Dokumenti/Osnovna-sola/Ucni-nacrti/obvezni/UN_spoznavanje_okolja_pop.pdf
- Curriculum. Physical education. (2011). Ljubljana: Ministrstvo za šolstvo in šport, Zavod Republike Slovenije za šolstvo. From https://www.gov.si/assets/ministrstva/MIZS/Dokumenti/Osnovna-sola/Ucni-nacrti/obvezni/UN_sportna_vzgoja.pdf