Minimus Classics

Partner: St Michael's CofE Voluntary Aided Primary School, Highgate, London
Partner type: Maintained School
Project category: Academic

A programme of 30 minute-long morning Latin clubs are led once a week by Highgate School sixth formers studying classics or Latin, and delivered to around 40 Year 5 and 6 pupils from St. Michael’s CofE Primary School.

Minimus: Starting Out in Latin is a unique course for 7-10 year olds, providing a lively introduction to the Latin language and the culture of Roman Britain with a highly illustrated mix of comic strips, stories and myths. Highgate welcomes pupils from partner schools to take part in this course, with all teaching and mentoring provided by Year 12 and 13 pupils studying Latin A level, who each give up one morning each week.

Pupils in year 6 can build on what they learnt in the club the previous year, and continue translating simple stories and learning new vocabulary, encouraged by the sixth formers. Pupils in year 6 also may begin to learn simple grammar rules.

Aims of the project

Aims

  • To introduce children to the Latin language.
  • To enthuse pupils about the study of Classics in the future.
  • To develop Highgate sixth formers’ communication skills and love for Latin.

 

 

Identified needed

We want to enhance cultural capital by introducing an understanding of the Latin language as well as myths and legends to primary school children.

There is a need for more people to study languages, and we believe that introducing Latin at an early age will set a baseline understanding and enthusiasm for study of languages at a later stage.

CFS

Around ten Highgate pupils in Years 12 and 13 studying A level Latin volunteer their time every week to lead these sessions

Non-teaching administrative support staff members (Chrysalis fellow) available to handle administration of the club and logistics and practical support.

Access to classrooms in the morning when registration normally takes place.

Member of partner school’s senior team / teaching staff who is willing to lead pupil recruitment and parent communication.

Beneficiaries

Year 5 and 6 pupils who will develop their Latin vocabulary and grammar skills, as well as learning various Roman myths and legends. Pupils who begin attending the club in year 5 then continue to attend throughout Year 6, so a fundamental understanding of Latin language and culture can be built up during these two years.

Since the Minimus club introduces the Latin language through myths and story-telling focused on Roman Britain, the pupils also develop an appreciation for the study of History.

Highgate pupils that lead the clubs develop key translational skills by mentoring young children, including communication, empathy and ability to make plans to suit specific individuals.

 

Background and goals

Highgate and St. Michael’s have worked together for many years, and this project was established to attract pupils from years 5 and 6 who were keen to explore Latin and get a fundamental understanding of the language as well as the myths and legends. The club has always attracted many pupils, and has now been running for 12 years, established initially by Ali Brunner, a teacher at Highgate School.

The running of the club is now overseen by the Head of Classics and updates are shared between the Community Partnerships Director and the head at the partner school.

 

Ali Brunner started it 12 years ago

Resources

Sixth formers studying Latin at A-level run the club and are therefore critical to the success of the Club. A member of staff must be present during the sessions, to supervise the club and be on hand in case a problem arises.

 Additionally, a non-teaching member of staff organises the club set-up as well as the administration of the club. The club takes place across two classrooms, which are not needed as form rooms during registration.

Pupils use exercise books, as well as Minimus textbooks, both of which are provided by Highgate School. The sixth formers run the 30-minute session, and then members of non-teaching staff (Chrysalis Fellows) escort the pupils back to school. The club is free for pupils to attend.

The only financial contributions from Highgate are the salaries of the support staff, known as Chrysalis Fellows, responsible for overseeing the administration of the club.

Impact

At the end of the year, pupils fill out a feedback form about the club, including their favourite elements of the club as well as what they think could be improved. This assessment is carried out once a year and always results in very good feedback from all the students, who say they have gained a basic understanding of Latin vocabulary and grammar, and have developed the ability to translate simple stories in Latin. A positive relationship is therefore maintained and fostered between Highgate School and St. Michael’s school.

Pupil involvement

All pupils involved are from the local primary state school: St. Michael’s CofE Primary School. The pupils are from Year 5 and Year 6.

Frequency and duration

This activity occurs on a weekly basis throughout the academic year, running for half an hour every session. It is likely to continue for however long there is a need for this activity.