By Jake Krzeczowski For Pioneer Press
May 29, 2012 3:42PM
Dozens of second-graders flooded into the garden of the Eklund Historical Center in Glencoe, snatching bags of pretzels and water bottles along the way.
In the middle of the scrum, Barney Berlin, corresponding secretary of the Historical Society directed the children with his thick wooden cane.
The kids were at the center on May 24 for the annual South School Historical Day and Berlin tactfully organized the students and parents into groups like a general preparing for battle.
“I’ve been helping with the (annual event) since I retired about four or five years ago,” Berlin said. “It’s fun, it really gives kids a chance to see things they normally wouldn’t, like our wind-up 78 rpm phonograph.”
The South School Historical Day is part of a year-long second grade social studies curriculum that focuses on teaching students about their own towns and neighborhoods.
South School Principal Molly Cinnamon said the visit corresponds to “my community” curriculum that encourages students to actively learn about their own community.
“We have a three day experience for them to do that,” she said.
Along with the visit to the Eklund Center, South School second-graders also participated in a walking tour of Glencoe guided by parents.
Chosen sites were marked with balloons and parents read to the students from packets they were given.
As students crowded around the center’s “Touch Me Table,” one looked at the typewriter in front of him.
“Where is the backspace key?”
The program and the current site of the Eklund Historical Center at 377 Park Avenue have been around for just over a decade and have benefitted from each other by hosting the annual event.
Aside from tours and exhibits, the Eklund Center also offers community research.
The colonial-style site was donated to the Historical Society following the passing of Sally Eklund in 2003.
“It’s a true picture of the community coming together,” said Catherine Wang, director of curriculum and instruction for District 35.
While the kids milled about the different exhibits in the Eklund Center, Wendy Gale and Fran O’Connor watched intently, taking mental notes.
“We’re in charge of putting this on next year for our children,” Gale, mother of a first-grade student said. “It’s a great way for the kids to connect with the community they live in and get a sense of the culture.”