Students show off holiday projects

Hilda J. Barbour kindergarten student Nicholas Payne, 6, beats on a tom-tom during a Thanksgiving program in his class. Rich Cooley/Daily

FRONT ROYAL – Kindergarteners at Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School in Front Royal got to show off their handmade Native American costumes and tom-toms at the school’s Thanksgiving feast day this week.

Teacher Kristen Lenz said her class has spent much of the month talking about Native Americans, focusing on their resourcefulness and environmentalism – taught in much simpler terms.

“We approach it from the point of view of the Native Americans are really the model for how to honor our world and take care of it and use everything, don’t waste anything, that kind of thing,” she said. “It’s how they made their own clothes for their costumes.”

After eating lunch with their parents, who had a suggested pilgrim dress code, students demonstrated the results of practicing on their homemade tom-toms with rhythm copying exercises and singing. Lenz then led her class in a “Hooray for Thanksgiving” mini-play.

Kids wore decorated vests with their own Native American-inspired name on the back and headbands they had crafted with geometric patterns. Their tom-toms were also creative projects made with some parent help. Denise Payne brought her son Nicholas’ tom-tom home after the demonstrations – it was made out of a wooden cheese wheel container and decked out with feathers, beads and a leather strap.

Bentley Kim, 5, plays his part during a Thanksgiving program at Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School in Front Royal. Rich Cooley/Daily

Lenz tied a few different subjects into the holiday-themed activities. Students learned a little bit of history and incorporated math into their tom-tom demonstration. Other class crafts included making totem poles, clay bowls and nature collages. With turkeys and pilgrims galore decking out the kindergarten hallway, kids will have plenty to take home for the holiday. Lenz said she is hoping the Thanksgiving lessons stick.

“A lot of it was like – I told them they were Indian children in training and Indian children were observant and they watched their leaders and their chief. Some days it works and some days it doesn’t,” Lenz said laughingly.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com