Working on a small loom just outside of the Del Rio Elementary School library, fourth-grader Estara Hofer was enjoying the experience, weaving without the use of electronics.
“Usually electronics do it all itself,” Hofer said. “If you do it on the old ways, you actually get to interact.”
Hofer’s experience was the same for all of Del Rio Elementary School’s fourth-grade class: a full day of hands-on historical education called “Arizona Day” on Thursday, May 10. Fourth-grade teacher Brenda Hubbard said they’ve been studying Arizona history all year long, starting with a trip to the Grand Canyon. They toured downtown Prescott and had lunch in the Palace Saloon earlier in the year as well
Prescott and Chino Valley are perfect places to be for studying Arizona history, especially with Chino Valley being the first territorial capital, Hubbard said.
The kids have been so excited about all of it, she said. Hands-on is great too, Hubbard said.
“With all the testing these days, the more hands-on you can do, the better it is,” she said.
Among the stations Thursday were a one-room school house and Native American Hogan, the primary traditional dwelling of the Navajo people, panning for gold, and branding demonstrations. Perkins Ranch provided fresh hide for the event, said Jeff Polacek who was doing some of the branding. It’s a good learning experience as some of the kids have never even been around horses, Polacek said.
Justin Reynolds, who helps take care of a couple ranches in Ash Fork and Chino, was there as well and mentioned how good it was to teach the ways of the cowboys to the kids.
“Everybody says the cowboy is kind of a dying breed. I’ve seen generations kind of dwindle away,” he said. “It’s kind of nice to instill it back into our kids. A lot of people don’t know about this stuff. I grew up around it and a lot of kids don’t. It’s part of our life.”
As a whole, it’s a unique experience as a field trip that’s at the school instead of having to actually take the kids somewhere, said Principal Carolyn Reeder. It’s great having the resources that’s in the area as well as the people available to come in with their time and expertise, Reeder said.
“It’s very eye-opening and knowledgeable for the kids,” she said.