Colonial Days Alternatives?

Hi All! I have two sons in public school in Lafayette and many of our elementary schools in the district do something called "Colonial Days" in the 5th grade. I am part of a Diversity and Inclusion committee at our school and we brought the topic up to discuss issues around “Colonial Days” and the discomfort some feel around dressing up and essentially celebrating colonization--portraying this time through colonizer's eyes without much recognition of the subsequent historical consequences. We are interested in hearing about any schools (public or private) that have replaced the “traditional” Colonial Days event/teachings with something else that still “makes history come alive” for the students, as this seems to be the main reason given for why schools are still doing this in our area. I am trying to get info on what some of the schools in our district and neighboring areas of Oakland/Berkeley/Richmond area are doing that are interactive and experiential educational events for students while still being culturally appropriate/sensitive and historically accurate. I found a reference to Joaquin Miller in Oakland updating their version of this  …if anyone has further info on that I would love to hear more. I have looked at a few examples of what they are doing in some of the local private schools, and there seem to be some interesting examples out there of kids diving deep into history while also respecting historical accuracy and recognizing and celebrating diversity & inclusion. Please help me by sending any such examples that you know of, so I can bring these ideas to the our next Committee meeting? Thanks! 

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RE: Colonial Days Alternatives? ()

I don't remember what my daughter's class did, but here are the California state curriculum standards for this lesson. Hope this helps. Religious freedom and slavery are part of the standard.

5.4 Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.
1. Understand the influence of location and physical setting on the founding of the original 13 colonies, and identify on a map the locations of the colonies and of the American Indian nations already inhabiting these areas.
2. Identify the major individuals and groups responsible for the founding of the various colonies and the reasons for their founding (e.g., John Smith, Virginia; Roger Williams, Rhode Island; William Penn, Pennsylvania; Lord Baltimore, Maryland; William Bradford, Plymouth; John Winthrop, Massachusetts).
3. Describe the religious aspects of the earliest colonies (e.g., Puritanism in Massachusetts, Anglicanism in Virginia, Catholicism in Maryland, Quakerism in Pennsylvania).
4. Identify the significance and leaders of the First Great Awakening, which marked a shift in religious ideas, practices, and allegiances in the colonial period, the growth of religious toleration, and free exercise of religion.
5. Understand how the British colonial period created the basis for the development of political self-government and a free-market economic system and the differences between the British, Spanish, and French colonial systems.
6. Describe the introduction of slavery into America, the responses of slave families to their condition, the ongoing struggle between proponents and opponents of slavery, and the gradual institutionalization of slavery in the South.
7. Explain the early democratic ideas and practices that emerged during the colonial period, including the significance of representative assemblies and town meetings.

( scroll down for History/Social Science)

RE: Colonial Days Alternatives? ()

Have you investigated what the students are taught during "Colonial Days".  Are the students being taught about California's Colonial Days?  Orinda schools at Wagner Ranch have Pioneer Days and Ranchero Days.  Where there is a lot of focus on the California's history,  The program in Orinda schools is filled with diversity.  Native Americans, Spanish (California's Colonial period), Russians, Mexicans, and Chinese all before the Gold Rush.  With the Gold Rush California was one of the most diverse places in the World.

Let me share the diversity of California's past most folks don't know.  San Francisco was one of the founded by black man, William Alexander Leidesdorff, who is also considered the first black millionaire.
San Francisco resident, Marry Ellen Pleasant is said to be the first black billionaire.  She brought the Underground Railroad to California and sued street car companies over segregation and won about 100 years before Rosa Parks.  

Slavery in California has an interesting history.  The Spanish had enslaved the Natives to build the missions and become Christians.  Then with California becoming a state during the Gold Rush the issue of slavery was a heated one for the state and our country.  It was gold that made California a free state.  Yet at the same time California recognized slavery "rights" of the other states and many interesting legal cases followed.

The last duel in the United States was in California in Golden Gate Park.  And it was over slavery.  Broderick, the abolitionist was killed in the duel.  

Hope you find these facts helpful and interesting.