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Learning Takes Shape At Fort Necessity

Fort Necessity National Battlefield

National Park News

Fort Necessity National Battlefield launched a new educational program for preschool students this fall entitled “How Children Learned in the Past.”  During November and December, over 750 children, parents and teachers participated in the educational program at the park’s recently opened Interpretive and Education Center.

The program was developed in cooperation with Head Start/Early Head Start of Fayette County and was funded by a grant they received from PNC Banks “Grow Up Great” initiative.  Head Start administrators had seen the park’s success with other educational programming and felt the National Park Service would be able to provide a program to meet the needs of the preschool children. 

During one program, the children discovered that in the 1750’s American Indian children learned through storytelling and song.  At the historic Mount Washington Tavern the pre-school children got to try on old-fashioned aprons and waistcoats (vests) before experiencing how children in the 1830’s would have learned in a one-room school house.  Both programs are full of hands-on activities, and are fun!

One of the goals of the PNC “Grow Up Great” grant was to enhance math skills through activities involving counting, shape identification, sorting, and following patterns.  During the American Indian program the preschool children found different shapes in the model Indian village, sorted seeds for planting and strung wampum in patterns.  Their “school house” activities included counting, sorting, matching and drawing shapes.

One of the Head Start teachers commented: “This has been a great experience for our kids and parents, it’s fun as well as educational, and the park rangers have done a wonderful job of working with this age group.” 

As part of the grant, transportation was provided to parents who accompanied their children, bringing to the park a segment of our population that might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the historical treasure in their own backyard.  Like the Fort Necessity/National Road interpretive playground that was dedicated in May, this field trip serves previously underserved audiences.


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