The most recent episode of This American Life on NPR focused on “Kid Politics.” A portion of this show focused on children learning about various monumental moments in United States politics. Included in this discussion of historical politics was a look at students interacting with the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum.
The Reagan Library has an interesting facility called the “Discovery Center.” This Center focuses on providing visiting children with a hands on history and political lesson. While visiting the Center children reenact the process Reagan and the United States underwent prior to becoming involved in military action in Grenada in 1983.
The appealing portion of this reenactment is that children are given a basic script to follow, however ultimately they decide what course of action should be taken. If a group of students select a course of action which Regan did not take a video appears which explains what actually happened. The video clips reinforce historical fact, but the choice factor is key to engaging children in reenactment.
It’s great to see an interactive, nontraditional approach to teaching children political history. This unique approach to history education not only about the history of Grenada and operation Urgent Fury, but it also introduces children to political processes and controversy.