National Heritage Month: Provo Middle School head to the field to study our Islands’ heritage.

National Heritage month is always a busy one at Provo Middle School. We believe it is important to see and experience the varied remains of our Islands’ heritage in order to appreciate the past. This year, students in our Year 7 and 8 classes set out on a number of field trips linked to their learning on the Turks and Caicos Islands’ salt and cotton industries.

Year 7 first visited the national museum to understand the significance of the Salt Industry, which operated here for around 300 years.

The success and importance of this industry led to population growth on the islands, as well as creating tension between neighbouring islands who wanted to gain control of this profitable export. We learned how the Turks Islands were perfect for the production of natural salt, produced through solar evaporation, direct from our oceans.

After our museum trip, what better way to appreciate the scale and importance of the salt industry than to fly over to Grand Turk and Salt Cay? The class took a wonderful 2-day trip to the salinas in Salt Cay and Grand Turk, seeing for ourselves how the islands were adapted for salt production. We were lucky to receive guided tours of the White House and Brown House on Salt Cay, both Bermudan-style homes built at the peak of salt production. From the upper level of these houses, it was easy to imagine the scale of the operation and the amount of labour that would have been required to control the salinas, rake the salt and prepare it for export. What a wonderful trip this was.


Year 8 also began their field work by heading to the National Museum on Providenciales. Here we learned about how the TCI Cotton Industry was so closely linked to American and British history, ultimately leading to the Loyalists arriving and beginning cotton production in the late 1700s. Children also toured the museum’s traditional home, which gave us a sense of how people in the Caicos Islands lived in the past.

This was then followed up by a first-of-its-kind trip to Cheshire Hall Plantation. We were grateful to the National Trust for helping us to plan a full-day site survey of this historic area. The class were given a tour of the grounds, learning about the remaining ruins and how the plantation would have operated in the 1790s. From atop the hill, it was easy to imagine the cotton fields spreading in all directions. Less obviously, however, we learned how the enslaved workers must have cultivated and grown their own crops for sustenance. We learned about the various vegetable gardens and natural edible plants that were grown to feed the community across the plantation. We saw the meager conditions in the enslaved workers’ cabins that contrasted so obviously with the size and location of the Master’s House.

Children spent time mapping the site, sketching what the buildings must have looked like and even surveying the area using drone photography. We appreciated David Gallardo, from Brilliant Studios, joining us to show children how drones can help us to gain a new perspective on an historical site.

The month culminated with the TCI National Museum’s Culture and Heritage Quiz. We were proud of our three Y8 students who represented Provo Middle School in the event, among children from across the islands.

Delivering a curriculum based on hands-on, real experiences such as these ensures that children develop a deep understanding of the topics studied. National Heritage Month is a great time to bring this into our learning in all subjects!


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