Some 63 Lincoln School students, their teachers, and quite a few parents got a taste of what the rugged individuals who settled the West went through last Friday.
With their teachers' assistance, the students recreated different aspects of the settler experience during a five-and-a-half-hour foray into a make-believe prairie crossing. Along the way they played old-fashioned games, performed pioneer-era music, and got an idea of what it's like to traverse some uncooperative terrain.
"It's really a unique experience," said Lincoln School Principal Pam Hyde, who noted the event started with teachers at Willard School around seven years ago. Some of those Willard teachers brought the tradition with them to Lincoln.
"Our teachers picked it up and ran with it," she said.
Lincoln students, said Hyde, spent much of the year learning about t
he different aspects of pioneer life in preparation for last Friday's adventure.
"It was the culminating activity of lots of curriculum that went before," said Hyde.
"I think they really enjoyed the Native American studies."
Students formed artificial family groups before starting out on their trek. Along the way they stopped to engage in such traditional pioneer pastimes as square dancingâ€"the "Virginia Reel," of course. There were also such games as Ring Toss, and the always popular "Where's My Sheep?"
There were a few challenges. Besides having to pull little covered wagons behind them all day, the students also experienced such everyday pioneer challenges as contendingâ€"where age appropriateâ€"with getting their wagon over obstructive tree roots in Thatcher Woods.
The trip was broken up by visits to "forts" along the wayâ€"actually the homes of participating parents, where kids could take a break.