fiddlehead.....every changing, ever growing

fiddlehead....ever changing, ever growing

Thursday, March 3, 2011

civics lesson Madison style

Today was a day to take a field trip to embrace democracy...and cookies.  
We are only 35 miles south of Madison....and unless you haven't seen the news lately, there is a great deal of political "issues" going on regarding teachers/state workers rights and union bargaining.

I am not getting into all of it here because this post is about teaching our kids about democracy and supporting the teachers they love.  
The teachers we love, who are so dedicated and who keep our WI educational one of the strongest in the nation.  I have been a school social worker and apart of the teachers union.  I have worked side by side with teachers and school staff.  I have teachers and staff in my family.   I have 4 children who are all public school students.  I have many friends who work in the schools as teachers and staff.  
I support them all and want the best for our educational system.

My friend Marcie and I have been wanting to support the cause, our teachers and 
also give our older children a great real life civics lesson!   
So, we took our oldest 4 children (1st & 3rd graders)
 straight to our state capitol for a real life lesson in democracy.   
Signs in hands and cookies in our baskets with notes saying:
 "We are smart cookies.   We love our teachers.  Thank you for all you do. We support you!"
 Arriving at the capitol we noticed that it was much calmer than a couple weeks ago when 100,000 people were rallying.  However, there were all kinds of examples of democracy strolling around the capitol.   People representing many state workers and union groups (fire fighters, carpenters, nurses, the arts, and of course teachers).

 As we approached the main capitol entrance we saw a crowd, speakers and many different signs or support and of protest.   A perfect stop to take it all in and start sharing our cookies of support!  Some supporters also wanted photos with the kids, their signs and cookies.  ;)

It was peaceful rallying.  Speakers, drums, some chanting, lots of people mingling.  

As we walked along we talk with the kids about how great it is that we are fortunate enough to live in a country in which we can express ourselves.  Express our ideas openly, without fear of the government and how there are places in the world where it isn't safe to do so.  
This is what democracy looks like!    (I love this sign)

The capitol doors were closed.  Bummer. I would have loved to show the kids the inside of the beautiful capitol and all the signs all over the walls.  But there were post-it notes all over the doors expressing ideas.  I love that blue post-it "keep out struggle peaceful".

 *proud mama alert*
Judson had found a piece of chalk and wrote this all on his own....  
"think of the KIDS!"   Yep, that's my boy.

 The kids got the hang of this rallying business.  
But, they better not try this at home.  
 Democracy doesn't always live here.....;)   We all know who rules around here.   
tee hee....I couldn't resist.

 I like this sign does feel like a movement in progress.

The kids all took in the messages, ideas and democracry in action.  I was so proud to see them take it seriously and learn about the process.   I do hope it is a memory they carry for a lifetime.
  They loved supporting their teachers and all talked about how they love their teachers, past and present.   
And of course, after all that cookie support, we had to take a cookie break.

We love our teachers.  
We love democracy and our country.
And we love cookies.


AnnMarie & Nick said...

Excellent post, love the signs and support! Great pictures and idea with the cookies. I bet the cookies were a real crowd pleaser:)

Anonymous said...

Dear Jeni, I think you are one smart cookie yourself! What an excellent trip to make with the children. What a great way to initiate an open discussion about democracy and rights! Wonderful!
A veteran teacher, your aunt, Mj

hotflawedmama said...

Love this post! So important to teach our kids that. In fact, I've been thinking of making the 3 hr trip with my kiddos to do the same!

Rachel said...

How neat! Well done!

Phoenix Peacock said...

I think it is really cool that you are teaching your kids about this and having them involved in their own way!!!

It reminds me of my current project, perhaps you and your kids would like to be involved? Take a look at:

Thank you for visiting the fiddlehead report!