Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade

 Bennington Museum offers several programs designed to meet the needs of students and teachers in the early grades. 

Amazing Toys of Long Ago

Available at the Museum or as an Outreach
Recommended for Grades Pre-K through 2, and for mixed age groups
Locations:  Grandma Moses Schoolhouse or Paresky Education Center; Church Gallery

What did children do for fun before computers and television?  Using reproductions (and some originals!) of popular toys from the 1850s to 1900s, students compare their toys to those of children long ago. Our museum educator helps students think about changes in technologies and materials, and demonstrates the uses of each of the toys. About half of the program is dedicated to allowing students to play with each of the toys. The program concludes with a discussion comparing and contrasting these toys with the ones the children have at home. Great for a comparison of past and present technologies and excellent for mixed-age groups, including those with adult participants.

General Tour – Let’s Look

Available at the Museum only
Adaptable for any age
Locations: Various galleries throughout the Museum

A visit to the Museum for younger learners provides an opportunity to explore a new community setting, practice speaking and listening, and learn new behaviors. We can focus your tour of the galleries on a theme that matches your curriculum. For example, we can go on a hunt for shapes, colors, or the four seasons. By limiting the visit to a few key spaces, our museum educators help make the Museum a comfortable place for young visitors.

The Art of Grandma Moses

Available at the Museum only
Recommended for Grades K through 6
Locations: Grandma Moses Gallery; Grandma Moses Schoolhouse

See the paintings of Grandma Moses, America’s most famous folk artist, and learn about her life and art. The program begins with a visit to the Grandma Moses Gallery, where students see paintings, yarn-work, and belongings of Moses and begin to learn about the type of work she did. There they also learn about the life of this artist through stories and photographs. Next we bring the group to the Grandma Moses Schoolhouse to learn about how she made her paintings. Working in small groups, the students use felt boards to create a Moses-style piece of art, which they then present to the class, focusing on how the paintings tell a story and using descriptive language to share their work. Through this activity, they learn about art concepts such as perspective and foreground/middle ground/background. This program is highly adaptable for a wide age range.

Ox-Cart Man

Available at the Museum, as an Outreach, or as a Rentable Kit
Recommended for Grades Pre-K through 1
Locations: Grandma Moses Schoolhouse

Students participate in a reading of Donald Hall’s story about a season of family life and chores on the farm in the 1800s. As our museum educator reads the story, students listen for their turns to add items to the “cart” and then remove them as the Ox-Cart Man sells them at the market. This program helps students learn about the cyclical nature of the seasons, connections between the seasons and human activity, the basics of economics, and similarities and differences between now and long ago.

Additional Information 

Quilting Math

Available at the Museum or as an Outreach
Recommended for Grades K through 2
Locations: Grandma Moses Schoolhouse

An exploration of quilts serves as a means to practice math concepts. With younger students, we can look for shapes, practice counting, and seek out patterns. More advanced students use the same quilts to learn about simple fractions and how halves combine to make wholes. Students demonstrate their comprehension by creating quilt blocks with pre-cut fabric shapes. Follow-up activities can continue the learning as students graph color choices or combine blocks to make a class quilt.

Going to School

Available at the Museum or as a Rentable Kit
Recommended for Grades 2 through 5
Locations: Grandma Moses Schoolhouse and/or Paresky Education Center

Find out what it was like to go to school in the 1800s. At the museum, students begin by exploring our recreation of an early 19th-century schoolhouse (in the Grandma Moses Schoolhouse) and looking for similarities and differences between it and their own classrooms and schools. Our museum educator leads a discussion about 19th-century education using the students’ own observations as a guide. Throughout the course of the discussion, students participate in learning by rote, “making their manners,” and may become subject to the dunce cap. The program ends with a final lesson in penmanship as the students practice writing with quill and ink. For those students completing the project early, we are prepared with letter-making or story-telling games, depending on the grade level.

This program is also available as a rentable kit. The kit contains most of the materials that are used in the on-site program as well as background information and activity suggestions.