School Tours Based on Standards of Learning
Updated & Expanded
Colonial Williamsburg’s school group tours have been redesigned to better address state and national standards in history and social studies. Our school group tours are led by professional tour guides we’ve trained to interpret the Historic Area for children of all ages. Guides present age-appropriate history of the years between 1700 and 1781 and lead groups through public buildings, colonial homes, and trade shops while discussing daily life in the 1700s. The tour guide will highlight information related to the National Social Studies Standards for government, citizenship, and colonial life in a British colony, and they will visit sites and engage in hands-on activities that bring those standards to life. The following is a brief description of what is included in tours at the different grade levels.
The topics of history, geography, civics, and economics are addressed with a focus on the people who lived in Williamsburg and those who worked for liberty and independence such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Students learn that the 13 colonies were made up of people with diverse ethnic backgrounds who made contributions to communities and were united as Americans by common principles.
Students visit historic sites where decisions were made regarding the land and its first inhabitants, colonization and conflict, revolution and the new nation, and political growth and western expansion. With a focus on United States history, students see where our founding fathers (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and George Mason) developed their ideas about liberty, government by the people, and citizenship.
A focus on civics and economics includes a discussion of the fundamental principles of American constitutional government, such as consent of the governed, limited government, rule of law, democracy, and freedom. Students learn that citizenship is the cornerstone of a republic and that founding fathers learned, discussed, and debated the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in Williamsburg and then created a nation based on those principles.
Students learn that Virginia was the first colony to write and adopt its own constitution and declaration of rights and that other colonies (states) used the Virginia model to write similar documents including the U.S. Constitution. Students explore ideas from the Age of Enlightenment through the words of John Locke, Thomas Paine, and George Mason and realize how they influenced Thomas Jefferson’s writing of the Declaration of Independence and thoughts of American patriots.