YORKTOWN, N.Y. - Rather than going over ABCs or numbers, the students at Yorktown Community Nursery School (YCNS) spent last Thursday, Nov. 17, grinding corn, dancing in pow wows and molding pinch pots.

This day-in-the-life approach concluded the school’s Native American unit, said Maribeth Fay, director of YCNS. The nursery school is a parent-cooperative school, meaning that parents participate on a daily basis at school on a rotating schedule. Fay said that every day there is a New York State-certified teacher, a teaching assistant and a parent in the classroom.

Fay said the teachers and parents worked together to re-create a Native American village consisting of 10 stations that the students explored throughout the day. The students learned about Native American culture in the week leading up to the event.

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“I think it’s really important for children to understand how people have changed over time,” Fay said. “This is a way of giving them an idea of how people lived a long time ago in a very realistic way.”

The students made instruments, played games, told stories in a longhouse and made a meal to share at the end of the day.

“What I really love about this event is that it speaks to the soul of the school in that the parents prep all the materials ahead of time, they are station leaders and they lead the groups,” Fay said. “The parents and the staff work together to bring this enriching day to the children.”

Photos by Nicole DeFillippo and Gabrielle Bilik