There were sea chanties sung and whale tales spun, all during a festival infused with learning. The biennial Mystic Festival was a crowd pleaser as fourth-and fifth-graders showed off their prowess of all things maritime via games, activities, and artwork.
“The Mystic Festival gives students a unique opportunity to enrich their minds in new and engaging ways. This event is one of my favorites of the year,” said fourth- and fifth-grade teacher and festival coordinator Emily Schimelman, Class of 2002.
This is the fourth Mystic Festival, the first being in 2013 at the conclusion of the premier year for Hamden Hall’s partnership with Mystic Seaport. The collaboration with the popular maritime history attraction brings Mystic educators to campus for in-class lessons and activities and sends students in Grades 4 and 5 to the ship yard for hands-on learning throughout the school year.
The results are cross-curricular, highly interactive monthly programs that are varied and project-based in areas such as geography, nautical science, American history, technology, and more.
Participating in the festival were all Lower School students, families, and friends as well as two of the Mystic educators who worked with students throughout the school year. Jordan Ecker and Natasha Przybylski sat in the theatre enjoying a video created by Librarian Kathy McNeiece that captured highlights from all of the Mystic undertakings this year. As various students popped up on screen, the educators noted their names and acknowledged the lesson or activity each was participating in – from scaling the ropes on a sea-worthy vessel to hammering wrought iron with a blacksmith.
The Mystic teachers were further delighted when fourth-graders took to the stage to sing a sea chantey.
Following the theatre kick off, festival attendees moved on to other parts of the campus to engage in games such as the match game and the two flag signal game. A treasure hunt for sixth-graders included a brief lesson in the use of a compass by physical education teacher Mark McEachern. The ultimate found treasure? Ring pops!
Other booths featured scrimshaw, printing and carving, boat making, and a puppet show in the MakerSpace Design Lab.
Mrs. Schimelman credited a myriad of fellow faculty members who helped make the festival possible as many booths featured activities that incorporated cross-curricular pursuits, and the arts.
“I am so overwhelmed by the support of our faculty and administration to be able to create an event that encourages lifelong, experiential learning,” maintained Mrs. Schimelman.
to view a slideshow from the 2019 Mystic Festival.