It’s springtime again, and that means that soon the Conner Prairie grounds will be back open! It’s an exciting time of year for us because not only are we welcoming back our guests and seeing the births of new baby animals, but we’re also preparing for thousands of school kids who will be coming for field trips over the next two months.
Erica Heinekamp is a fourth grade teacher at St. Susanna School in Plainfield, IN. She has brought her students to Conner Prairie for the past few years and will be returning again this spring. I asked her to share a little bit about her students’ experiences and why she keeps coming back.
R.A. Why do you bring your students to Conner Prairie?
E.H. Conner Prairie is a great hands-on way to discover life in the past and get to be a living part of it. I think it's a great simulation of how life really was in Indiana.
R.A. What do you like best about CP?
E.H. I SO LOVE the Civil War area! My co-teacher and I got a sneak peek of this part over the summer and I'm super excited to see what the kids think of it!
R.A. What do your students like best about CP?
Is there anything they get to do here that is a new experience for them?
E.H. Our students don't have much exposure to adults acting like someone else--so I think being able to interact with the "real" doctor or chat with the "blacksmith" is a new experience for them. The kids consistently enjoy anything they can touch or feel, so I've been really thankful when the students are allowed to touch the artifacts in some of the places.
R.A. How do you use their experiences at CP back in the classroom?
E.H "Oh you'll see that at Conner Prairie" is a constant phrase during social studies class! A field trip here gives necessary experience and prior knowledge that 4th graders might not have had otherwise. I am so thankful to have this resource available to the teachers in Indiana.