SPRING PLANTIN’: Christian Love Center kids travel to Pioneer Museum

Published 3:00 am Saturday, May 6, 2017

Children from the Christian Love Center took a trip to the Pioneer Mseum Friday for the start of the museum’s Spring Plantin’ event. The children learned a lot about plants, including learning about their growth through body movements (inset top). The kids even got to take a plant home. The kids also got to learn about how people lived in the poineer days, including going to church with Rev. Ed Shirley (above). Shirley told them about circuit riders and led them in old-fashioned church hymns. Inset bottom: Volunteer Mike Harris gets down on Cameron Cunningham’s level to talk to him during the Spring Plantin’ event.

Young children from the Christian Love Center in Troy stepped back in time Friday morning to learn more about how those who pioneered Alabama lived, worked and played by spending a morning at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

Stephanie Rucker, pre-K teacher, said the children had looked forward to visiting the Pioneer Museum of Alabama.

“They like being outdoors and, for us to get a chance to visit the museum on Spring Plantin’ Day was a real special treat,” Rucker said. “At the Christian Love Center, the children have many opportunities to do their own plantin’. We have a garden at the center and plant a lot of different things – corn, peppers, even watermelons. And we plant flowers, too. They love to dig the soil and plant the seeds. Today was a lot of fun for them. They got to learn more about plants and even got to take a plant home.”

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Members of the Pike County Master Gardeners were on hand at the museum to talk with the children about flowers and how they grow.

Leigh Calk, president of the local master gardeners, led the children in a play activity that taught them how flowers grow from seeds through body movements.

The children’s feet became roots. When watered their bodies became strong stems and fluttering leaves. When the sun warmed the buds the flowers began to bloom.

The children stood firmly rooted, even as the wind blew their leaves and bent their stems. Their smiles became the flowers that bobbed up and down on the ever-bending stems.

“They had good time with the games they played and were excited to take a flower home,” Rucker said. “They will have the responsibility of taking care of their flowers. But they know how and now they understand even more about how seeds become flowers.”

The children enjoyed other activities at the museum. They watched as Shirley Blankenship, a master spinner, almost magically turned a boll of cotton into thread. Their eyes widened as she told them their shirts are made from threads that come from cotton.

They visited many of the displays in the main building of the Pioneer Museum before going to visit the Soil Trailer where they learned about the animals that live underground right here in Pike County.

Martha Freeman called to the children from the porch of the Demonstration Cabin. She needed help churning butter. Because they were so attentive as Freeman told them about how pioneers lived, they were treated to cornbread cooked over fire in the wood stove.

After a long walk across the covered bridge, the children went to church in the log church where Rev. Ed Shirley told them about the early preachers, called circuit riders, and led them in singing the same songs that pioneer children sang.

“The children had a good time and they learned a lot,” Rucker said. “They need to know about how people lived a long time ago so they will grow up to appreciate those who came before us.”

Rucker said although times have changed, the children could relate to some of the things they saw.

“They recognized quilts because some of their grandmothers still quilt today,” she said. “Some people are still making soap by hand and it’s sold in stores. Many of the old ways are still practiced and the children knew all about planting a garden because we have a garden at the center. Some things change a lot and some, not that much. Our children had a good time learning about that.”