As part of their study of the local community, 125 second-graders from Maple Glen Elementary School traveled by bus to downtown Westfield for some interactive learning.
“This has been in the works since 2018,” said Maple Glen teacher Ali Mock. “I had this idea of wanting us to get out in the community somehow.”
On Oct. 2, the five second-grade classes alternated walking to the Westfield Washington Historical Society Museum, Barker Cabin, Old Friends Cemetery, Midland Trail and Grand Junction Plaza.
“Can you imagine living here?” Westfield Washington Historical Society Vice President Jeff Beals asked Jodi Brooks’ students as they sat on the round, woven rug in the middle of the one-room cabin.
Beals told them how Nicholas Barker built the cabin in 1835 and lived there with his wife Fanny and their 11 children. The kids listened intently as he described cooking in the 10-foot fireplace, hauling water from the well in a wooden bucket and going to the outhouse in the middle of the night. They watched eagerly as he demonstrated how to use a “key” to tighten a rope bed and how to put corn through an antique sheller.
“What a great way for young people to learn a little Westfield history and have a hands-on experience of life in 1835,” said WWHS volunteer Barbara Day.
WWHS President Jim Peyton gave the children a similar lesson at the museum.
“My favorite part was the museum because we got to look around,” said second-grader Myles Brown. “There were bottles that were brown and dusty.”
In addition to visiting the historical sites, students gathered at the Cafe Pavilion at Grand Junction Plaza for some craft time, using their scissor and glue skills to create a timeline of Westfield’s development.
“This was really educational for me as a parent, too,” said parent volunteer Dani Wilson.
The Maple Glen teachers recently met with teachers from other Westfield Washington elementary schools and hope that the field trip will be beneficial to students across the district.