Update: Fall 2017 - NPF has renewed the grant for the "Every Kid in the Park" program at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site for another year. The National Park Service and the Friends of Fort Vancouver are happy to announce that more fourth grade students from districts who cannot afford to send their students will now be able to experience the history and beauty of the Site, thanks to the funds donated to pay for their transportation costs.
During their time on site, the focus is on a place-based learning program called "Talk of the Trade," which is aligned to the upper elementary state history curriculum. During this program, students explore the historic site through the eyes of a fur trader of mixed ethnicity. Interactive elements include learning vocabulary of Chinook Jargon, the common language of the multicultural fur trade, how early trade and barter systems worked in a region with no currency, the environmental effects of fur extraction, and how people from many different backgrounds lived here together. After their field trip, the students may complete a curriculum packet (developed by staff from the park and from the local Educational Service District) that uses archaeology and material culture as a lens for investigating the past.
"We've learned that helping to provide transportation to Title I schools for a visit to the Fort Vancouver site is a tremendous chance for all students to learn about cultural exchange between Native Americans, international trade and the development of communities in the Northwest. These activities are memories they will recall and cherish as adults, too," said Mary Rose, Executive Director of the Friends of Fort Vancouver.
We are excited to let our Friends know about the local success of the "Every Kid in the Park" (EKIP) program. This is a program of the National Park Foundation (NPF) to allow school districts who would not be able to bring their fourth grade students to a National Park because of the cost of transportation to be reimbursed for those costs. The Friends of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) at Fort Vancouver applied for and received an EKIP grant from NPF for qualifying schools in local school districts. It reimburses transportation costs for schools who do not have the funds to bring their fourth graders to a National Park.
The photo shows fourth graders from César Chávez K-8 on their recent trip to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. Below is the text of a letter from their teacher, Ordella Reynolds:
The three fourth grade classes from our school participated in the Fort Vancouver tour yesterday. It was a unique opportunity for our children to participate in experiential learning.
Our school is a diverse, multilingual community with 100% of children on a free lunch. Students and families struggle to have basic needs met and our school partners with many resources to assist them. Most of our students have never been outside their neighborhood: they do not get to see and do many things that other children take for granted.
It would not be possible for our students to pay admission or bus costs to go on this field trip. The Every Kid in a Park fee waiver and bus transportation help of $250 made it possible for our students to attend.
Thank you for your role in serving our young scholar-citizens and providing equity in their educational experience. The kids were truly amazed by the buildings and artifacts. It helped bring their studies of the geography, history and economics of the region to life.
Please enjoy some samples of student writing following the field trip and a picture of my class.
With deep gratitude,