The All America City program is Preservation Worcester’s premier education program. Designed to fit the Massachusetts third grade curriculum requirements for History and Social Science, the program uses the city’s architecture as a key to unlock students’ understanding of Worcester history. Enriching everyday history and social science classes with site-based learning, the program includes an initial, illustrated classroom presentation followed by a field trip. On the trip students experience Worcester’s architecture and built environment “first hand” with what they have learned about the city’s growth over time. Their visit to City Hall includes a role-playing session in the City Council Chamber, providing them with hands-on experience in the operation of city government.
The field trip includes:
Finding the Bronze Star Monument in front of City Hall and hearing about Isaiah Thomas and the Massachusetts Spy
Touring City Hall, Worcester’s “Palace for the People”
Visiting the City Council Chamber in City Hall and participating in a mock City Council meeting
Seeing the 18th century burial ground and monuments on Worcester Common
Touring Union Station’s Great Hall and viewing the railroad tracks
Based on the themes of transportation, industrialization and immigration, the All America City program captures the children’s imagination and provides them with an understanding of the leading role Worcester has played in the history of the Commonwealth. While focusing on local history and architecture, the program also teaches concepts and skills in geography, civics, government, and economics. It encourages children to take ownership of the history of their city and to develop pride in their own roles in the community. Knowledge gained through this experience is aimed at creating informed and involved future citizens of the city, the Commonwealth and the nation.
By gaining an appreciation of Worcester’s history and architecture, students develop a strong sense of pride in their city. The program nurtures young citizens who experience the civic process, who understand Worcester’s role in history, who appreciate the city’s architecture and historic monuments, and who enthusiastically share that information with their families, neighbors, and friends.
Tailored to the third, fourth, and fifth grades, the Seeing Worcester Architecture Program is an expanded version of the Third Grade All America City Program. A collaborative effort between Preservation Worcester and school staff, this program gives students a solid grounding in Worcester history and architecture – building from year to year on the lessons learned the year before.
Meeting the Massachusetts Curriculum Guidelines, the two-phase program includes an initial learning phase followed by a creative phase. The initial phase consists of two preparatory classroom visits and a field trip presented by Preservation Worcester docents with emphasis on architectural styles and on the relationship of the built environment to the history of Worcester. In the second phase, students carry out a creative project designed by school staff in collaboration with Preservation Worcester. The creative component culminates in art exhibits and dramatic vignettes presented to the entire school, students’ families, and friends – enhancing study units at each grade level and highlighting what students have learned in the initial phase of the program.