NORWAY — The voices of enthusiastic third-graders from Rowe School filled the Norway Historical Society on Nov. 22. They had marched energetically down Main Street with their teachers and were welcomed to the society by trustees Marion Howe and Elaine Legeaux, who had prepared a program about ways Christmas was celebrated in the early 1900s.

Lageaux began by reading a picture book by Laura Engels about a father taking his children out into the woods in the horse-drawn sleigh to cut evergreens. Howe followed up with showing black-and-white photos of her own family taken in their sleighs. She jingled authentic sleigh bells and led the students in singing “Jingle Bells.”

The children were then divided into three groups that rotated among three activity tables, gluing rings of construction page to form one kind of garland and progressing to stringing cranberry and popcorn rope to form another. By the end of the school day, three classes had decorated a fresh pine tree in an old-fashioned Christmas way.

“We’re trying to make history valuable and relevant to them and let them handle objects,” said Jason Manjourides, assistant principal.

Student’s passed around artifacts, trying to figure out what each was. Among them were wooden, strap-on ice skates, a copper bed warmer that held coals and a soapstone foot warmer.

“To have a place they can walk to and learn in a different way is an excellent opportunity for our students, especially with no field trip money available,” said Manjourides.


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