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It’s all about the kids!

At this time of year it’s easy to get in touch with your inner child. Everywhere you look there are reminders of how much of this holiday season is geared toward children. “Toys for Tots,” “Charlie Brown Christmas,” and of course, academic winter break. We all remember how much we enjoyed the end of the semester!

Greenwich Village artist John Sloan depicts children playing in the snow in Washington Square in this 1925 etching “Sculpture in Washington Square” [from metmuseum.org/collection]
Here at GVSHP we have a focus on children with our Children’s Education program. Affectionately known to us as “Kids’ Ed”, the program is available to all elementary schools, and meets current Common Core Curriculum standards – and is a lot of fun! We are passionate about history and historic preservation, and naturally we want to share that with everyone, but we think it’s especially important to introduce the concept to school children. If we don’t, who will?

Our program consists of 3 sessions, each lasting one hour. The first is a visit to the classroom, where our instructor will use a slideshow and other audio-visual aids to introduce students to Greenwich Village in a geographical and historical perspective. We explore the people who lived here, and the kinds of buildings they built, and help the students to identify some architectural elements.

Students examine a photo of a historic building
Students examine a photo of a historic building

For the second session our instructor leads the class on a walking tour in Greenwich Village. For some students, this is their first ever visit to Greenwich Village, and in a few cases their first trip into Manhattan. Our instructors guide the class through the streets of Greenwich Village, where they can see those historic structures and architectural elements that were presented in the first class.

Students explore a historic Greek revival home's stoop (and lions!) near Washington Square
Students explore a historic Greek revival home’s stoop (and lions!) near Washington Square

The final session is an in-class art project in which the students make something that incorporates what they learned from the first two sessions. Our instructor visits the classroom and we provide the craft paper so the students can have a souvenir of their experience in Greenwich Village history.

Students on the walking tour of Greenwich Village
Students on the walking tour of Greenwich Village

We offer 3 different curricula. The most popular is our original “Greenwich Village: Past & Present.” Students are made aware of how things change over time, and how you can see evidence of the past in the Greenwich Village Historic District. We also offer “Immigration in the South Village” which focuses on the immigrant experience and its effects on the neighborhood. For older students in grades 4 through 8, we also offer “Streetscape Timeline: Bleecker Street” that explores how a place can change over time.

If you are interested in having your child’s class participate in the program, please have the teacher or principal contact us at education@gvshp.org. The cost of the 3-session program is only $100 per class, and reduced fees or fee waivers are available for schools that qualify. We always hear back from teachers and students who tell us how much they enjoy the program, and we feel great about sharing our beloved Greenwich Village with them. The next generation of historic preservation advocates, perhaps?

Students show off their art project!
Students show off their art projects!

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