Elk Meadows holds Kindy 500 tour across America
Elk Meadows kindergartners take part in the Kindy 500, where they first drove their cardboard vehicles around before learning about famous America sites in their classroom. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
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Kindergartners recently drove their cardboard cars, motor homes, trains, jeeps, race cars, airplanes and other forms of transportation as part of Elk Meadows Elementary’s third annual Kindy 500.
Students first toured around the school’s multi-purpose room on parade before settling in to Jody Comte’s room to learn about America’s famous symbols.
12”wide x 24” long x 13” deep
“It’s a really fun way for students to remember learning America symbols,” Comte said. “It builds community through parent support and sixth-grade student helpers.”
For the morning classes, sixth-graders Morgan Harris, who dressed up as George Washington; Gia Gomez, who portrayed Betsy Ross; Gabby Villanueva, who was the Statue of Liberty; and Matthew Woodruff, who dressed up as both Abraham Lincoln and a bald eagle, helped students learn about America symbols.
“The kindergartners are really cute and sweet, and some of them are shy, which reminds me of how I was at that age,” Morgan said. “I remember looking forward to learning about Abraham Lincoln, George Washington and the Statue of Liberty in kindergarten.”
However, Morgan said there wasn’t a Kindy 500 back in her kindergarten days. The idea of the Kindy 500 came from a teacher in Payson whom Comte’s mother knew. Comte’s mother, who teaches kindergarten in Salem, Utah adopted this teacher’s idea and has been holding the event at her school for 10 years.
Through the tour of America in her classroom, Comte’s students learn facts about a well-known American symbol. Then Comte ties in activities or crafts, many of which help students listening, writing, learning and motor skills.
For example, after learning about Betsy Ross, the American flag’s 13 stripes and 50 stars and what the colors of the flag represent, the students made their own flag by frosting graham crackers and adding red licorice stripes and candies to represent the stars.
“It allows them some fun, but they’re still learning the lesson and working on their fine motor skills,” Comte said.
Through dramatic play, the kindergartners figured out how to build a paper nest about the size of a bald eagle’s nest out of classroom supplies. Comte said that through the process, the students learned teamwork and creativity and the importance of American symbols.
They also learned perspective by measuring their heights against the height of nose of the Statue of Liberty after learning the Lady Liberty was a gift to America from France and that there are 354 steps from the pedestal to the crown of the statue.
Students learned that the White House, which needs 570 gallons of white paint to coat the exterior, was first known as the “president’s home” or the executive manor before President Theodore Roosevelt called it by its current name. They also learned facts about Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Students then had the opportunity to write and draw what they would do if they became president. The answers ranged from helping people and giving people flowers to having a pet and eating cookies.
Many of the kindergartners thought the activities were fun but also enjoyed sitting in their vehicles as they learned.
Laura Tuttle, parent of twins Rylee and Hank, said her kindergartners chose to create the vehicles they helped make out of 12 by 24 by 13 inch boxes.
“I have a school bus because Dennis (bus driver) always makes it fun to ride on and talks to all my friends and me,” said Rylee.
Her brother chose a mail truck.
“I like to go get the mail and sometimes, there’s invitations for me to go to birthday parties,” he said.
Hank likes learning about states and their capitols.
“He’s obsessed with maps and would love to travel more,” Tuttle said.
Kindergartner Aloalii Palimoo wants to be a police officer, so he was “touring America” in a police car.
“I want to help people do the right things,” he said.
Laura Tuttle, parent of twins Rylee and Hank, said her kids chose the vehicles they helped them to create.Using 12”wide x 24” long x 13” deep
His mother, Beauty, said that Aloalii has visited some historic sights around Salt Lake City as well as in Hawaii.
Through it all, the kindergartners learned about America.
“America means people die for others so we can be kids and can do what we like to do,” kindergartner Reagan Evans said.