General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 22 Sep 2017/11 Vulture
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Today's Maya date is: 13.0.4.14.16 - 1737 days into the new cycle!
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2017-2018 Programme
2017-2018 Programme
Focus: learning about ancient Mesoamerica - whether the Maya or the Aztecs - through MUSIC! Ask us to send you full details...
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Our schools programme on the Maya (but NOTE LEFT!)

Starting in the Autumn Term 2014 a new optional unit in the Primary History National Curriculum for England comes into being: the Maya Civilisation features as a possible study of ‘a non-European society that provides contrasts with British history’. We at Mexicolore will be there from the beginning, offering schools not only our regular ‘flagship’ programme on the Aztecs (already with many references to the Maya) but a new programme, based firmly on the ancient Maya. We’re already launching an entirely new section of our website devoted to the Maya... (Written/compiled by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Pic 1: Year 6 pupils in a Mexicolore Maya workshop, Holly Park Primary School, December 2014
Pic 1: Year 6 pupils in a Mexicolore Maya workshop, Holly Park Primary School, December 2014 (Click on image to enlarge)

In many respects the format, scale, level of participation and general ‘approach’ for our new Living History in-school prograamme on the Maya will be similar to our tried and tested Aztecs programme - a cross between an illustrated talk, a workshop and a full-scale theatrical performance. Incidentally, ‘just so you know’, there is a longstanding protocol in academic circles that we should refer to the Maya generally as ‘Maya’ (eg, Maya culture, Maya calendar, Maya civilisation...) and only keep ‘Mayan’ for references to Mayan language(s) and scripts.

Pic 2: Our experience of staging the ancient Mesoamerican ballgame in schools is unrivalled...!
Pic 2: Our experience of staging the ancient Mesoamerican ballgame in schools is unrivalled...! (Click on image to enlarge)

As with all our main programmes in schools, our Maya programme has to run in your school hall. Suitable for any year group(s) within KS2, the session is a very intensive half-day (normally a morning) and there is no formal limit to the ‘audience’ size - we often present to 1, 2, 3, 4, even 5 classes together, and ALL will get involved at different stages of the session, either individually or en masse. We don’t assume any prior knowledge of the Maya, so the session can easily run at the start, in the middle or to close your topic. We guarantee that pretty well every child will directly take part, the majority dressing up and playing a wide range of wind and percussion instruments, accompanying everything from an ancient chant to the famed ritual ballgame...

Pic 3: Just part of our Maya schools artefacts display...
Pic 3: Just part of our Maya schools artefacts display... (Click on image to enlarge)

We bring all our own materials and equipment - except for tables! It can take an hour or more to set the full display up in your hall prior to starting the session. We like to allow extra time for Q&A, viewing of the artefacts on display, etc. The programme will focus on the following, whilst giving particular priority to certain key themes such as the importance of chocolate, creation myths, and the ancient ballgame:-

• Who were the Maya and where did they live; did they die out?
• Creation myths (the story of the Hero Twins from the Popol Vuh and the origin of humankind)
• The sacred nature of maize; preparing Mexican food the traditional way (a long ‘grind’...!)
• The sacred nature of chocolate, its importance and role in Maya rituals
• Other foods original to Mexico – from tomatoes to chewing gum (pic 3)

Pic 4: Dressing in authentic clothing, and playing authentic instruments is central to our schools workshops
Pic 4: Dressing in authentic clothing, and playing authentic instruments is central to our schools workshops (Click on image to enlarge)

• The geographical environment – from rainforests to cenotes (sacred sinkholes); sacred creatures – from the jaguar to the quetzal
• Historical investigation/sources: from Maya codices to archaeological evidence
• Maya calendars, including the Long Count (pic 5)
• Zero and the Maya counting system
• Maya names; words in English derived from Mayan languages
• Maya houses and temples; the three sacred hearthstones at the centre of every Maya home
• Maya musical instruments (pic 4)
• Maya textiles and clothing styles (pic 4)
• The ritual ballgame (pic 2).

Pic 5: Remember the ‘end of the world’ in December 2012?! We’ll explain why it was always just an urban myth...
Pic 5: Remember the ‘end of the world’ in December 2012?! We’ll explain why it was always just an urban myth... (Click on image to enlarge)

Booking is simple (there’s no form to fill in): just get in touch by email, ‘phone or via the Contact form (see top menu) bar, ask for a particular date, and we’ll enter it into our bookings diary for you. We don’t publish our charges on the website, you’ll need to enquire first: send us a quick message with an email address and we’ll send you fuller details. You can check our availability online via our bookings calendar (link below). Please try to give maximum notice - we get very booked up!

PREPARATION TIP 2015-16: We very much recommend the lovely paperback story book for Juniors Rain Player (story and pictures by David Wisniewski) published by Clarion Books, New York, 1991. it’s delightful, beautifully illustrated, and includes references to several things that we bring to life in our current programme - severe drought, Chac the rain god, the conch shell trumpet, the ballgame, frogs croaking to announce rain, the jaguar, the quetzal and its feathers...

‘Rain Player’ by David Wisniewski - a great warm-up resource to our visit!
‘Rain Player’ by David Wisniewski - a great warm-up resource to our visit! (Click on image to enlarge)

Picture sources:-
• Main pic and pix 1 & 5: photos by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore
• Pic 2 by Stephanie Burgess (Ryde Junior School)
• Pic 3 by Oscar Forero
• Pic 4 by Joanna Sotres/Mexicolore.

This article was uploaded to the Mexicolore website on May 18th 2014

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Mexicolore replies: Cheers, Marie, thanks for this good feedback. Our first impression of Jaguar Stones is the same as yours; during the summer we’ll be checking this through and adding lots more such resources/links to the site...