June 13, Hong Kong - A slice of 15th-century England will be re-created at The Harbour School (THS), a primary and secondary international school in Hong Kong, on Monday, June 20, 2016 at the school’s annual Renaissance Faire. The school’s Fourth Graders will attempt to replicate many of the sights, smells and sounds of the medieval period, in an exemplary showcase of authentic learning of history through an interactive and experiential curriculum.
This year’s Faire promises to be bigger, better and more authentic than other years’ and will be held at the school’s upper primary and middle school campus in Ap Lei Chau.
To mark the occasion, THS Fourth-Grade students, teachers and parents will partake in a customary feast a day before the Faire. The banquet is a sumptuous spread fit for a King, featuring dishes carefully prepared to Renaissance recipes researched by the students. After the banquet, the Fourth Graders and faculty will set about transforming the THS school campus into a medieval village.
Authenticity - to arrive as close as possible to accurate historical detail - has been a key driver of this year’s Faire spearheaded by John Montrie, an expert in European medieval history who was brought in by Dr Jadis Blurton, Head of School, to make the learning of history engaging and enduring for its Fourth Graders.
Mr. Montrie (pictured above), who frequently participates in live-action history re-enactments in the US, has been teaching the students parts of Renaissance history in-character, dressed as a knight in chain-mail. The Fourth Graders have also been hard at work practicing two actual Renaissance dances called the Maltese Bransle and Sellenger’s Round, which they will perform at the Faire.
Dr. Blurton says, “History is not just about learning names and dates. Children who understand and love history are those who can feel what it was like to live in a different era and face the same hopes and fears that all humans face throughout time.”
Each Fourth Grader has also completed a literacy-based independent research project which will be on display on the day of the Faire.
Behind the scenes, students and faculty alike have been hard at work to ensure that this year's Faire will be the best one yet. Jenny Stroud, THS Grade 6 teacher and Literacy coordinator, with co-teachers Matt Lau and Elicia Mirandilla, have sewn more than 200 pieces of garments for different members of multi-layered Renaissance society; from aristocracy to professionals such as doctors and scholars to peasants and farm hands, to artisan craftsmen such as glass blowers and leather craftsmen. The result is a rich and intricately detailed re-creation of a cross-section of Renaissance life.
15 students from THS Middle School who have been researching and learning about the Middle Ages and Renaissance this term will be attending the Faire dressed as characters living in a Renaissance village.
The Fourth Graders’ medieval village will host arts and craft activities typical of the period such as candle dipping, tapestry weaving, leatherwork and calligraphy. There will also be entertainment in the form of jousting and archery. The eighth-graders will stage pop-up scenes from Romeo and Juliet throughout the day and the pre-Kindergarten students will be performing the Maypole dance.
Grade Four teacher Natalie Mierczak said, “Teaching the Middle Ages to the Fourth Graders has been a privilege. The students have been thrilled with the content. It has extended out from the inquiry-based classroom learning environment into actively learning Renaissance dances, making a coat of arms for battle, recreating feudal contracts and investigating diseases and what life was like within a self-contained Manor. The students have been beyond excited and so engaged.”
The Renaissance which took place in 15th, 16th and 17th century, is one of the most interesting periods of European history, and saw an explosion of intellect, innovation, art, politics, science and philosophy. Renaissance Europe was also marked by violence as it was a constantly shifting political scene. Governments then were challenged by threats both internally and externally.
The THS Renaissance Faire will officially open to invited guests at 9.30am on June 20.
For further information on Renaissance Faire 2016, please contact:
Natalie Mierczak, email: email@example.com
For further information about The Harbour School, interviews or photographs, please contact:
Carolyn Campbell, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
About THS Renaissance Faire
The Renaissance Faire is an annual event organised and hosted by The Harbour School and the culmination of Fourth Grade cross-curricular studies of the Middle Ages and Renaissance period. This year’s Faire is in its sixth year.
Classroom study is brought to life through the study of history taught in an experiential way. Fourth Grade students learn not only from reading about the two tumultuous periods of European history but from research and replication of life in those times.
About The Harbour School
The Harbour School is an international school that aims to unlock the best in every student by taking a highly individual approach to teaching. It has small class sizes with a 7:1 in-class student to teacher ratio. The school was founded in 2007 and is already gaining a worldwide reputation as a center of excellence. It follows a US curriculum with an emphasis on 21st century skills such as problem solving, teamwork, creativity and innovation.
For more information, please visit: www.ths.edu.hk
About Dr Jadis Blurton, Head of School, The Harbour School
Dr Jadis Blurton is the Principal of The Harbour School and is well known as a leader in the fields of education and psychology. She has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Developmental Psychology and Master’s Degrees in both Special Education and Psychology. She is a Qualified Teacher in Hong Kong and a Certified Montessori Teacher (AMS). She is also a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in two states in the United States and a Registered Psychologist in Hong Kong.
Dr Blurton has worked in the fields of Education, Child Psychology and Educational Psychology for over thirty years, practicing clinically as well as teaching at university level and working with schools. In Hong Kong, she is the founder and Clinical Director of the Blurton Family Development Center and the 2009 recipient of the American Chamber of Commerce Ira Dan Kaye Award for Community Service in Hong Kong.
She has served as consultant to numerous international schools and speaks both locally and internationally on topics related to gifted education, alternative or progressive education, child and family development, expatriate children (“Third Culture Kids”) and special educational needs.