Teaching History through Church Tourism
It is often difficult for children to understand history as a series of events that happened to real people, so they are sometimes taken to places they had learned about in class. It helps them identify with the location, and their teachers or parents hope they will be able to connect it to the people who lived in the area at the time. While it does not always work, many educators have found that children who see an actual setting do make their own connection to history. Touring ancient sites, historic buildings and locations where important events occurred in the past is one way to help make the past real.
Religion has played a large role in the past of many cultures, so taking students to religious sites can be an important part of their educational experience. While many modern cultures are currently stressing less religious venues, there are still some that consider the intertwined stories of religion and culture to be of major import in education. Their goal is not to convert their charges to any specific religion, and they seek only to help them understand the facts of what happened in the past.
Touring religious buildings is often reserved for adults who are curious, but some parents have found that taking their children to these sites has a major impact. It gives them a way to connect a story they have heard to a past event. Reality hits them when they realize the story they have been told happened in a real place, and that is where the connection can become real for them.
Translating the past into stories that will capture the imagination of a young student is not an easy task, and touring historic sites can help fire their imagination. When they have a chance to make this important connection, they will feel the past as a living part of the present.