Carnival Visits to Schools

CISPP has been visiting schools with its mobile exhibition van, carnival exhibits and team of carnivalites since 2011.  On these visits, which can last all of the school day, or for the morning or afternoon, CISPP have become an integral part of school projects.  A number of classes can see the CISPP exhibition at any one visit, which is aimed at children aged 7 to 11.

Some schools are visited every year; others are visited every other year.  Each year we have bookings from schools that we have not visited before because teachers have recommended our project to them.  The children get an insight into the different aspects of carnival, as carnival covers many trades such as carpenter, costume maker, welder, mechanic, painter, and many more.  The future of this Somerset tradition is kept alive by inspiring the younger generation through visits to schools to get involved.

A fun and interactive presentation is given which includes: the history of carnivals in Somerset, the history of their local carnival, artefacts such as an old torch and squibb to illustrate the illumination of carnivals before the introduction of electricity, the role of marshals and health and safety at carnivals, carnival costumes and hats/wigs for the children to dress up in, feature cart carnival dances and carnival freeze tableau poses.

The children also look at the van exhibition and the specially produced schools’ carnival DVD, to encourage their involvement in carnival.

Over 60 different schools have now been visited over the past five years, throughout Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Devon, with many now receiving annual repeat visits.  After the first visit, schools have been developing their own projects on carnivals.  The economic benefits and the social cohesion that carnival brings to communities are also emphasised.  As a result of school visits, some walking groups comprising the children have entered their local carnival, and children have been encouraged to appreciate and enter the carnival tradition.  

Here are some quotes from some of the children we have met along the way.

I love when you come, I was so exited. I liked wearing the wigs and stuff, it was fun. I think if I tried to make a carnival costume it would take me two months I think.


When I walked in the hall I was speechless about how many dressing up clothes there were. I would describe as amazing.


When I was dancing everyone was laughing I learnt when you dance it is really hot especially when in the carnival with all the light bulbs it would be rosting.


My favourite part was when we went in the van and we learnt about history, fun and carnivals today. I learnt so much about carnivals.


Schools we have visited:

Abbey Primary, Shaftesbury; Ansford Academy, Castle Cary; Beech Grove Primary, Wellington; Birchfield  Primary ,Yeovil; Bowlish Primary, Shepton Mallet; Brookside Primary, Street; Croscombe Primary;  Ditcheat Primary; Gillingham Primary; Greenfylde First School, Ilminster; Hindhayes Primary, Street; Hugh Sexeys Primary, Blackford; Huish Primary, Yeovil; Milverton Primary; Motcombe Primary; North Cadbury Primary; North Town Primary, Taunton; Oake, Nynehad & Bradford Primary; Othery Primary; Ottery St Mary Primary; Preston Primary, Yeovil; Shaftesbury Primary; St Gregorys Primary, Marnhull; St Johns Primary, Wellington; St Josephs and Theresas Primary, Wells; St Mary’s Primary Thornecombe; St Peters and St Mary’s Primary, Shepton Beachamp; Stoberry Park Primary, Wells; Waterloo Primary, Shepton Mallet; Welton Primary, Midsomer Norton; West Pennard Primary; Westover Green Primary, Bridgwater; Wincanton Primary; Woolavington Primary, Manor Court Primary Chard, Buckland St Mary Primary, St Vigar and St John’s Primary Chilcompton, Ashcott Primary, Winsham Primary, Castle Cary Primary, Wiliam Barnes Primary Sturminster Newton,  Ruishton Primary, Broadhembury Primary and including Branscombe Primary, St John’s Primary Tisbury, St Benedicts Primary Glastonbury