Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by The British Library.

Theme/enquiry question and background notes:

  • What do we remember most about our childhoods?
  • What significant events happened when we were children?
  • What games do you play at school?
  • What songs do you sing in the playground?
  • Do people still sound the same as they did 50 years ago?

In this resource you will find recordings of older people, and children from local schools in Quarry Street and Quarry Bank from the 1970s singing rhymes and talking about their memories. The recordings will help your students understand what life was like in the 1970s and explore working class life experiences in the 1920s and 1930s as recalled by Ivy Murray and Roland Kellet, two of the interviewees.

There are numerous opportunities to develop children’s questioning skills and historical thinking by making judgements from the evidence provided. Ivy talks about her life and community in Hunslet and Roland sings about the Barnbow Lasses, famous for working at the Barnbow munitions site during the First World War. There are opportunities to build a scheme of work around this topic as well as finding out more about where playground songs come from and whether they are the same now as they were then.

This resource was created using resources from the British Library sound archive.

Note: Talking about childhood memories may be triggering for some children. Please take care to consider vulnerable children and have plans in place to support unexpected responses.

Curriculum Links

  • KS1 History: Significant local historical events, people and places
  • KS2 History: Theme extending knowledge beyond 1066
  • KS2 Geography: Locational knowledge, geographical skills
  • KS1 & KS2 English: Spoken language, reading & writing (persuasive language, tone, inference, slang, reading, listening etc.)
  • KS2 Music: Pupils should be taught to: play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, using their voices and playing musical instruments with increasing accuracy, fluency, control and expression. Improvise and compose music for a range of purposes using the inter-related dimensions of music and listen with attention to detail and recall sounds with increasing aural memory.

Activity Ideas (download here)

Discussion Ideas

  1. Discuss as a group what makes you ‘Leeds’.
  2. What are your favourite childhood memories?
  3. What playground songs and rhymes do you remember or use now?
  4. Listen to the recordings of playground songs and rhymes sung by students from Quarry Mount and Quarry Street Schools in the 1970s. Which do you recognise? Are there any differences to the way you sing them now?
  5. Which are completely new to you? What do you think those songs are about? Why might they not be sung now?
  6. A parody is when a person closely imitates a writer or song, in this case, to provide comic effects. Why do you think the recording of the song Glory Glory Hallelujah is a parody? Can you think of other songs that are parodies?
  7. What will children be like in Leeds in 100 years? Will they be singing the same playground songs? Will they even be going to school like we do? What do we do now that will have changed in the future?