by Mrs. Cindy Holden, 1st Grade Teacher
Early American history is formally introduced in the First grade. Our students presented a drama depicting events that may have occurred at the first Thanksgiving celebration. We begin our studies in the fall with Columbus convincing world leaders that the world was a sphere and that if one traveled west, eventually they could return to the site of the beginning of their journey. We focus on the desire of Columbus and Queen Isabella of Spain to spread the Gospel to the New World. Through this approach we present a Biblical Worldview of our American heritage. The students see strengths as well as weaknesses, victories as well as evils that were demonstrated by Columbus and his sailors.
Our next stop on the historical time-line took us to Jamestowne. There we saw behaviors that often are at extreme ends of the character continuum, from highly moral to villainous behavior. As Solomon said, in Ecclesiastes 1:9 “there is nothing new under the sun.” In our historical presentation of the First Thanksgiving, we included Pocahontas. She was not present at Plymouth Rock and never knew Squanto even though they lived during the same time-period in history and they were both in England for a portion of their lives. She and Squanto both demonstrated a benevolent, kindhearted spirit that has always been an important part of our heritage. They are great examples of Christ’s mandate to be our brother’s keeper and they also give us a beautiful picture of the “melting pot” in American, where people come together and live in peace and harmony.
Dramas such as this support the Classical system of education. Our goal is to help students build relationships with the historical characters and the events that we study. We read biographies, diaries, and autobiographies of people who lived during the times we study. These first-hand accounts bring life and interest in history to our students.
From Plymouth Plantation, to go on to meet the founding fathers, then President Lincoln and we see the divisions he experienced. Finally, we travel west and arrive at home in Colorado to learn about our exciting beginnings.