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Youngsters embrace history at Escalon’s museum, park
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Farmington Elementary students gather around a table at the Escalon Historical Society Museum to check out a variety of old-fashioned phones, enjoying the chance to try them and see how different they are from today’s version. They were in Escalon for a field trip to the museum, caboose and Main Street Park and the Escalon Library on Friday, April 19. Marg Jackson/The Times

Students from Escalon Unified School District elementary schools – the rural campuses of Collegeville, Farmington and Van Allen – are getting the chance to delve into some history.

Classes from both Collegeville and Farmington had a field trip to the Escalon Historical Society’s Museum on Main Street this past week, while Van Allen students were due in town this week. The trip also included a stop at the historic caboose in the Main Street Park for a tour, some old-fashioned games in the park and then a visit to the Escalon Library.

Museum curator Dorothy Miller said welcoming the students in for tours was a wonderful experience for all the volunteers on hand.

“I hope it opens their eyes to history, a love of their community,” Miller said. “There’s just so much to learn and do, to get the kids outside and give more joy to them, hopefully they’ll come back and share it with their parents.”

The recent visits marked the first time the rural elementary classes had been to the museum for a formal field trip.

“We love doing it and now all four of our elementary schools will be visiting and it used to just be Dent,” Miller added. “It has been quite a month.”

One of the highlights of the tour for Farmington students on Friday, April 19 was having one of their teachers find her Escalon High School yearbook on display at the museum and share it with them.

“That’s the first time a teacher has done that,” Miller remarked.

That teacher was Michelle Parrish, a third-grade teacher who had her class of Farmington Roadrunners at the museum.

“We have not come here before and it’s really great because a lot of my kids are going to be using some of these old-timey things at Valley Days next month, for a field trip so it’s a really nice introduction,” she said. “They’re having a great time, especially with the telephones; the telephones and typewriters, and dancing with the record player has also been a highlight.”

All grade levels visited the museum on Friday except the fourth graders, who were away on their Asilomar trip last week.

Around the museum, students were having fun talking to each other on the old rotary telephones, typing out some messages on the old-fashioned typewriters, were fascinated by having to get up to change the channel on the television and also enjoyed checking out the various toys.

A favorite of eight-year-old student Reagan Stevens was the Raggedy Ann doll, while Michael Centeno Cardenas, 8, stayed focused on pumping water out of a hand pump.

In the park, another group was busy using hula hoops, tossing balls into baskets and generally enjoying the fresh air.

Paraeducator Leslie Fross said the day was picture perfect and a great field trip for all the students.

“It’s wonderful, it’s things I don’t think they would be doing on their own and so to be here, in a controlled environment and get to see things that they don’t usually get to see is a good experience for them,” Fross explained.

It also was refreshing to see them jump into the simplest of activities, she noted.

“Little stuff, it doesn’t take much to entertain them, just get them involved; they’re all happy,” Fross said.

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Sunny skies and green grass provided the perfect backdrop for some field games, like tossing a ball into a bushel basket, as youngsters do here; the Farmington elementary students also got to use hula hoops and take a tour of the caboose in the park. Marg Jackson/The Times