It is impossible to avoid the sights, sounds and news of election season. There’s no better moment in time for our youngest citizens to begin building language and understanding around voting. In an effort to foster conversations around the election process and the important upcoming election, we wanted to involve the children in their own important election, voting for special PSA snack!
First, we had to hold primaries. We wanted to come up with a special job for the school-age children who are at PSA this fall. Each of the 3 school-age classrooms was offered two different snack selections and asked to vote on one candidate that their class would endorse that would go on the ballot.
Once each class had their candidate selected, they were tasked with creating campaign posters. We looked at examples of campaign posters and talked about a couple important parts of a campaign poster, such as a simple easy to read message, bold colors, and an eye-catching design. The poster should tell the voters why they should choose their snack “candidate”.
Some of the classes chose to go on a walk around the neighborhood to do some visual research of campaign lawn signs, and others drew individual sign ideas before collaborating to design their final poster.
With the posters were complete, the children hung the signs in various places around the school to campaign for their candidate!
They also worked with their Music Specialist, to record a campaign ad about why their candidate should be elected. We discussed what made their snack “the best” and why other children should vote for their classes choice. Given the option between two pieces of music, they voted on the background music for their commercial. The children recorded a radio ad supporting their chosen snack candidate. These ads were played over the loudspeaker at PSA.
When it was their turn to vote, the children began by examining each candidates poster as we discussed each choice.
“Pink popsicle! Mine! I want this one!!”
We saw this over and over with each class. We wondered if the image of the popsicle swayed voters due to its color and size! The power of campaign marketing at work.
Before casting their ballot, children had to register to vote. Each child found their photo and stamped it to register before casting their ballot. We discussed that this was how we (and real polling places) made sure everyone only voted one time.
Each child found the ticket matching their choice and placed one into the ballot box. We discussed the presence of the lock on the box to make sure everyone’s choice was kept safe until it was time to count the votes.
After voting, children had a chance to make an “I Voted” sticker. Stamps, markers and stencils were offered for children to customize their special sticker.
Any children who were absent for voting day were delivered an absentee ballot to ensure that everyone’s voice was counted.
Once the whole school had their opportunity to vote, the school age classrooms were again asked to help with the election. They counted (and recounted) the votes. After the results had been tallied, and verified by another classroom we were happy to announce that popsicles won the election! The whole school enjoyed a special snack of popsicles on election day to celebrate our democratic process.
Reflections by the Art and Music Specialists