A Guide to Education Programs at the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation
Programs will build upon the foundation’s present model, which takes a multidisciplinary, standards-based approach and encourages hands-on inquiry and problem solving. Students will compare and contrast the political, social, cultural, and economic issues of today with those of the Coolidge era to bring immediacy and relevance to that complex era. – Join Us on a Clear Path to the Future publication, Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation
History Exploration Programs Small groups of students explore historic buildings of the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site with trained docents. While relating the Coolidge story, the inquiry method is used to encourage conversation about what the students observe. The schoolhouse is set up with hands on activities that give experiences with simple machines, artifacts, historic photographs and letters, making a tumbling blocks quilt design, and relating life today with life in Coolidge’s time. Be sure to share our Meet Calvin Coolidge with your students to orient them to the Historic Site!
Special program options Optional activities can be added to History Exploration Programs. Students can make handmade diaries and read excerpts from young Calvin’s and Abbie’s diaries or write postcards in the schoolhouse. During certain days in the spring and the fall, farmer-educator, Fred DePaul offers a sheep shearing demonstration. The students turn a hand-cranked shearing machine and hear stories of the history of sheep in Vermont. The other program offered is planting buckwheat (spring) and harvesting buckwheat (fall). In the fall, visiting students flail the buckwheat and then turn a hand-cranked fanning mill. They also turn a hand-cranked corn sheller. They grind flour with a hand-cranked flour mill. This connects students to the agricultural history of Vermont.
Docents There are currently 15 volunteer docents that lead the small school groups. A docent orientation day is held in May before the opening of each spring season. Information is provided for the historic buildings and Coolidge family history as well as discussion of techniques to engage students in observation and discussion. Docents are willing to be available to help with other Coolidge Foundation efforts. Contact [email protected] if you are interested in becoming a volunteer docent.
Outreach Programs The Education Director can be scheduled to visit schools and other venues. Artifacts and photographs are brought to give first-hand experience. A power point presentation, “I was ready” tells the story of Coolidge’s unique inauguration. Presentations have been made to elementary classes, high school 20th Century American History classes, and adult groups, such as OSHER.
Constitution Day Program During September, the Foundation presents a participatory program on the Constitution that is an option as part of the History Exploration visit. Quotations from Calvin Coolidge and the relevance of Constitutional issues from Coolidge’s time are shared. In 2008, an election year, voting rights history and issues were presented and discussed, followed by a mock election. In 2009, the Supreme Court was the focus, following the appointment of a new Supreme Court Justice. The 2011 program on Campaign Finance and the First Amendment took place with a returning Vermont Law School student who co-planned and carried out an involving campaign simulation. Constitution Day Programs are targeted to Eighth Grade students but are open to any teachers who are interested. The activities of each year’s program add to our teaching resources.
Contact me with your ideas. I look forward to working with you. Click here to read testimonies from teachers, parents, and students.
Diane Kemble, Education Director
Email: [email protected]