Mini Tour Guides from Local School
Now in its third year, an innovative partnership between Dumfries House and Ochiltree Primary School has produced another generation of mini tour guides who led their friends and relations around the stately home on Saturday 3rd December.
The girls and boys from P6 and P7 had prepared for their big day for weeks: an initial demonstration tour of the fabulous house and collection of Chippendale furniture was followed by in-class practice and an intensive rehearsal session at Dumfries House just a few days before the tours were launched. Ms Pamela Lockie, Deputy Head from Ochiltree Primary said ‘The children have been so excited by the opportunity to perform as tour guides at Dumfries House. They found the training very stimulating and put a lot of effort into their presentation skills’. Charlotte Rostek, Curator at Dumfries House, added ‘This has been the most rewarding year in the partnership yet. The children were exceptionally keen and fully embraced the challenge.’ The kids also designed their own tickets, which were sold at £6.00 each and included tea/coffee/juice and mince pies for everyone after the tours were finished.
The parents and relations had come in large numbers to see their youngsters talk about the history of the house and some of its priceless furniture. Many of them had never visited the house before and were beaming with pride. They agreed that the children’s confidence had been given a great boost by speaking in front of so many people.
The children themselves clearly loved the experience. Young Calan said: - ‘I loved being a Dumfries House Tour guide. It was awesome and fun to talk about history.’ Iona echoed the enthusiasm shared by all her peers: ‘I loved it a lot and I want to be a Tour Guide. I want to do it again.’
The programme is designed to give young people a sense of ownership of this important local visitor attraction which was saved for the nation by HRH, The Prince Charles, in 2007. The brain child of Charlotte Rostek in 2008 the idea has been enthusiastically supported from the outset by Fiona Black, Headteacher at Ochiltree Primary School, and Pamela Lockie.
Next spring there will be another opportunity for children from the school to train and perform as tour guides. With any luck, perhaps some of them have already have found their vocation.