The upper elementary classroom studies our nation’s history every other year (and Colorado history on the alternative years). During the year that we study our nation’s history a lot of time is spent talking about our nation’s capital and our founding fathers. Children learn about the National Mall, the Capitol, Lincoln’s Memorial, and other important landmarks that represent our nation’s history. During the year they complete a guidebook to D.C. and a 3-D visual display of a monument representing our nation’s history. This all provides a very concrete experience that allows the minds of our young students to understand the complexity of our history and the people who formed it.
For the second time now, this year Durango Montessori offered our fourth and fifth grade families the opportunity to participate in a school tour of Washington, D.C. Half of our fourth and fifth grade families signed up to attend our four-day tour of the nation’s capital, totaling 38 people attending the tour (including parents and some extended family members). Needless to say, we were not the largest tour group in D.C. during one of their busiest months (‘cherry blossom season’), but people certainly knew when we were heading their way.
After starting out with a ‘Moonlight Trolley’ tour of the major DC sights, children and their parents were able to experience an interesting itinerary including a tour of Senator Bennett’s office and the Capitol and a tour of the White House (a pretty special opportunity, considering the recent sequester led to 75% of tour requests being rejected). On day three we received a tour of the Air and Space Museum, followed by a tour of the National Monuments on the Mall. We ended our trip with a day at Mount Vernon, where children toured George Washington’s mansion, his slave quarters, and even saw his ‘dentures’ (which are NOT made out of wood).