Preserve WV AmeriCorps Member Develops New Program for Students

By Cailin

Over the last month I have been developing an educational outreach plan for Craik-Patton House in Charleston called Traveling Trunks. It is essentially a program the Craik-Patton House is offering to Kanawha County elementary schools, beginning this fall, where we will travel to the school free of charge and give a living history presentation in class. There will be two separate programs: the first will be for grades 1-3 and the second for 4th and 5th graders. The goals of the traveling programs are to increase awareness of the Craik-Patton House by sharing its history, as well as the early history of the settlement of the Kanawha Valley.  For the younger students this will also include a fun history of toys and games children would have played, and for older students, a chance to see what it was like for children during the Civil War. We want to make history interactive, fun, and relevant for grades 1st through 5th. Currently, I have purchased one trunk, and a volunteer has offered use of his trunk as well, and we have several toys, clothes and kitchen items ready for the fall. The state museum has also graciously offered their reproduction items for our use as well. Needless to say, this has been a tedious and involved process thus far, but we have had significant successes.  We hope this fall will be an excellent pilot program for the schools.

One of the best achievements I have had with the planning of the program, is the opportunity to speak at the spring meeting of Kanawha County Schools elementary principals to let them know what we are wanting to implement for the fall. I spoke to over 50 principals, the superintendent of elementary schools and the superintendent of Kanawha County Schools on April 2, and they were thrilled this program was being offered. We have had seven schools contact me to let me know they want our presentation at their school, and all the principals were eager to get the program up and rolling. I was very excited that the program was received so well, even in the beginning stages, and it has truly lit the fire inside me to make it a success and something kids will love.

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