School Programs

2023
STANDARDS BASED PROGRAMS

"Children are our legacy" - that was the lens through which President Emeritus, Seth Bongartz, fostered Hildene's school programs. Today, and into the future, youth education at Hildene is at the very heart of our mission.

Our programs are designed to provide experiential and inquiry-based learning opportunities. Students explore big ideas, i.e., understandings that endure long after the details are forgotten. Programs span across our 412 acres which encompasses wetlands, streams, meadows, forests, ponds and vernal pools. Students practice skills such as asking relevant questions, making careful observations, communicating outcomes, and constructing evidence-based explanations. Next Generation Science Standards and Social Studies Standards are incorporated into all offerings.

COVID-19: Educators will follow protocols issued by schools.
 

CLICK HERE to complete a field trip request.

 

Natural Science

Black Capped Chickadee, Winter education
Winter Adaptations: Coping with the Cold

Grades: 2-5 • Length: 1 - 1 1/2 hours

OFFERED WINTER 2023

Colder temperatures and shorter days bring about many changes in the world around us. Students explore forest life through observation and exploration to discover the ways plants and trees adapt to winter’s challenges. They also examine the familiar black-capped chickadee to discover its remarkable survival strategies and complex language of calls. Weather permitting, students take a close look at the unique designs of snowflakes and examine the processes that form them. BIG IDEAS: Structure and Function; Cycles; and InterdependenceNGSS

Under and Over the Snow, education program
Under and Over the Snow

Grades: 1-3 & 4-5 • Length: 2 hours

OFFERED WINTER 2023

How do animals adapt to Vermont’s long cold winter? Through outdoor activities, students examine the survival strategies of animals in winter and learn basic track identification skills. They investigate prints and track patterns, learn to move like the mammals do, and practice their tracking skills in the woods nearby. BIG IDEAS: Structure and Function; and Place. NGSS

turkeys in vermont hildene youth education programming
Wild & Wary: Vermont's Turkeys

Grades: K-2 & 3-4; Length: 1.5 hrs
WINTER 2023
Unlike earlier times, the turkey we enjoy today isn’t a wild bird, but rather farm-raised. While tasty, the domestic turkey is not nearly as fascinating in behavior or development as its wild cousin. With interactive activities, students explore the history, habitat, life cycle and behavior of Vermont’s wild turkeys. BIG IDEAS: Interdependence; Cycles; and Change Over Time. NGSS

History

Pullman Porters, Hildene education
Pullman Porters: Unsung Heroes, Former Slaves, Labor Organizers, Middle Class Citizens & Civil Rights Activists

Grades: 5-6 • Length: 2 hours
OFFERED JANUARY - APRIL 2023
Our restored 1903 wooden Pullman car, Sunbeam, provides the setting for students to discover the critical role that Pullman porters played in giving rise to America’s black middle class, the formation of the black labor movement, and the momentum for the civil rights movement. This slice of history spans 100 years beginning with the Emancipation Proclamation. Students role-play what it was like to travel and work on a Pullman car, visit the mansion where Robert Lincoln conducted Pullman business when he was in Vermont, and participate in discussions about the porters’ enduring fight for social change and justice in America. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; Human Rights; Impact of Economic Systems; and Nature of Conflict. STANDARDS

Pullman Porters Hildene Youth Education Programming
VIRTUAL: Pullman Porters: Unsung Heroes, Former Slaves, Labor Organizers, Middle Class Citizens & Civil Rights Activists

Grades: 6-8 • Length: 1.5 hours
OFFERED NOV - APRIL 2023
During this live virtual program, students discover the critical role that Pullman porters played in giving rise to America’s Black middle class, the formation of the black labor movement, and the momentum for the civil rights movement. This slice of history spans 100 years, beginning with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Students engage in activities relating to what it was like to travel and work on a Pullman car and actively participate in discussion about the porters’ enduring fight for social change and justice in America. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; Human Rights; Impact of Economic Systems; and Nature of Conflict. STANDARDS

Hildene, Robert & Mary's home
Windows To The Past

Grades: 5-12 • Length: 1.5 hours
PROGRAM OFFERED NOVEMBER - APRIL 2023
Students take a tour of Hildene, built by presidential son Robert Lincoln and his wife Mary in 1905, to learn about the family and their lives at the turn of the century. Students also visit the exhibit The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural, which includes one of Lincoln’s stovepipe hats of which there are only three in existence. 

Robert Lincoln, a captain of industry, served as president of the Pullman Company from 1901 to 1911. Students learn about his Pullman career through a visit to our fully restored 1903 Pullman car, Sunbeam. The interpretive exhibit “Many Voices” focuses on the Pullman Company that built the cars; the privileged families and executives who travelled in them, and the Pullman porters who worked in them. The fourth voice is of those who visit the car and the conclusions they draw from the experience. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; Forces of Unity and Disunity & Nature of Conflict. STANDARDS

iconic photo of president abraham lincoln
Lincoln and the Telegraph: The Innovator with the Innovation

Grades 5-6 • Length: 1.5 hours
OFFERED NOVEMBER - APRIL 2023
An innovator at heart, President Lincoln revolutionized the use of the telegraph during the Civil War. He used this new communications tool to gather information and assert his leadership to the front. Prior to Lincoln, rapid exchanges between the Commander-in-Chief and the generals in the field didn’t occur. Students learn about the critical role of the telegraph in the Civil War, use telegraphs to send and receive messages that are combined to reveal one of Lincoln’s most important decisions and then view related artifacts in our exhibit, The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural. BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; Forces of Unity and Disunity and Nature of Conflict. STANDARDS

basket
Historic Crafts

Grades 1-3, 4-6 • Length: 1 - 2 hours
OFFERED FALL/WINTER/SPRING, 2023

In early America making crafts was an essential part of everyday life. To help students understand what it was like to live in earlier times, when so many things we take for granted did not exist, they make everyday household items like dipped candles or baskets. Broadening students’ appreciation of the early settler’s self-sufficiency, this program introduces each craft in an historical context. Choose from the list below the craft(s) you would like to do:

Dipped Candles 1st-5th Length: 1 hr
Pierced-Tin Candle Shades 1st-5th Length: 1 hr
Cornhusk Dolls 3rd-6th Length: 1 ½ hrs
Basket Weaving 5th-6th Length: 2 hrs

BIG IDEAS: Historical Connections; and Movements and Settlements. STANDARDS