The Map of Wonders reaches thousands of schoolchildren

Carrie Cooper, the head of communications at ArtHouse Jersey, reveals how The Map of Wonders brings creative joy to over 3,000 local children

Bel Royal School pupils enjoying activities based on The Map of Wonders. Picture: NATALIE MAYER
Bel Royal School pupils enjoying activities based on The Map of Wonders. Picture: NATALIE MAYER

ARTHOUSE Jersey’s The Map of Wonders project has now reached well over 3,000 schoolchildren across the Island, with 22 primary schools taking part.

The series is the first of its kind under the Genesis Education Programme, a partnership between the Department of Children, Young People, Education and Skills and ArtHouse Jersey, and is sponsored by Saltgate. Its aim is to support young people’s well-being while using the arts to increase and improve creativity across all schools in the Island.

The Map of Wonders is a seven-part series of quests for pupils and their teachers. Each quest is supported by a uniquely produced film, created by ArtHouse Jersey, featuring locally born performer The Story Beast, better known as John Henry Falle. Each of the episodes focuses on learning about aspects of Jersey using tales of local history and folklore to engage children in their Island history and the creative arts, hoping to enhance their sense of belonging.

This year the children have learnt about species unique to Jersey and the story of the Crapaud and St Samson, dolmens and the passing of the seasons and most recently about Jersey’s coastal environment. The latter features the local folklore tale of the terrifying Bull of St Clement which, as it turned out, was only a ‘souffleur’ – the local name for a hole in the rocks which makes the much misunderstood roaring sounds. Guest expert for this episode is Paul Chambers, Jersey’s marine and coastal manager at the Growth, Housing and Development Department, who imparts his extensive knowledge of Jersey’s vast intertidal ecosystem – made fun, of course.

The next episode coming up at the end of May is Saving The Planet, which tells the tale of Le Chat au Sauteux, a bewitched cat found by a young lady named Madlon in a hedgerow one moonlit night. The story introduces children to Jersey’s hedgerows and the diverse wildlife population that they sustain. The final episode will look at future worlds, inviting children to describe how they would like their island to look in the future. With glowing feedback rolling in from children and educators alike and John Henry Falle becoming quite the star across Jersey classrooms, ArtHouse Jersey are already busy developing exciting, interesting and most importantly fun ideas for series two later this year. Hannah Culshaw, Saltgate’s chief corporate officer, said: ‘This is a real milestone – not just the number of children reached, but the levels of engagement. The Map of Wonders project has helped young people reach their potential and created a fun educational platform at a time when we needed it the most.

‘Creating a culture of learning is a focus for Saltgate and one of our aims is to support the communities where we operate. So working with ArtHouse Jersey on this has been a joy – it’s been amazing to see the results of this creativity.

‘On a personal note, my children and I have loved watching the Story Beast’s videos. They really bring Jersey’s heritage to life and show how we’re all part of our Island’s story.’

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