When the partnership began three years ago, the school was chosen because of some past challenges. "They were put out of their school for asbestos and renovations at one point, and classes were in trailers. And they're a Title I school, yet they were plugging through all of it," said Ellen Funck, a board member of the Greenwich Historical Society.
Programs, designed by teachers and historical society staff, supplement the grade-level curriculum on local history. Grades 1 and 2 follow a basic program about life in Colonial New England. Third-graders learn about Sarah Bush, who once occupied the Bush-Holley House , and about life in Greenwich during the late 1700s.
"I went into the third-grade classes, and we brainstormed," said Funck. "They remembered so much from what they had seen on their tour of the Bush-Holley House, and we decided they would design the patches for a class quilt."
Fourth-graders learn about portrait paintings at Bush-Holley and are then taught in art class how to make self-portraits. "They're basic, but it's amazing to me," said Funck. "At the end of the year there is a student exhibition."
Some of the fifth-graders are chosen to be junior docents and give tours to fourth-grade classes at the Bush-Holley House. "It's a program I just love. It's the look on the children's faces when they're touring Bush-Holley. And it's the excitement to see the parents see what their children are learning about," said Funck. "One mom came up to me and said, 'Because of this, my daughter took art classes in the summer and is excited that this year she might be able to become a docent.'"
The Fairfield County Community Foundation funds the program this year. Funck said that with enough funding and staff, the historical society could expand the program to all schools in Greenwich.
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