Dear Wheelock Families,
This email is a follow up to the email sent on September 28th that outlined the schedule of events for our Rocky Woods celebration. Each year the third grade classes participate in a day at Rocky Woods. Leading up to the event, students engage in classroom learning aligned with the Massachusetts State Grade 3 Frameworks: Massachusetts, Home to Many Different People, where students study Massachusetts and New England, beginning with their own city or town. Specifically, they explore interactions among Massachusetts Native Peoples and European settlers and learn about the different perspectives of both peoples. The Rocky Woods experience is the culminating event to solidify their understanding of this important unit.
As in years past, the children will engage in all of the activities that generations of Medfield students have enjoyed at Rocky Woods – including farming, collecting wood, food preparation, cooking on an open fire, crafts, archery, fishing, hiking, and more – to learn about the interactions between Massachusetts Native peoples and European settlers.
The decision to forgo wearing the traditional colonial attire from the Rocky Woods experience was initiated from the 3rd grade team and approved by the principal. Prior to the decision, there were many grade level discussions over the past few years questioning whether the practice of all students, staff and volunteers wearing pilgrim costumes with no representation of Indigenous people was an accurate depiction of the curriculum that was being taught. This also included a lengthy conversation at a School Site Council meeting on March 9, 2021.
This change is in keeping with our district-wide commitment to foster an inclusive school culture. We believe it is important for students to study history from multiple perspectives, rather than prioritizing one heritage over another. The 3rd grade team, as well as school and district administration, are confident that the absence of costumes does not diminish in any way this joyful, hands-on learning experience for our students.
Holli Caulfield, Wheelock Principal
Jeffrey Marsden, Superintendent of Schools