Highest office in the land


February 20, 2000|By Susan Rapp | Susan Rapp,Village Reading Center

The third Monday of February is a day we set aside to honor past presidents. It's evolved from a celebration of George Washington's birthday on Feb. 22, 1732, to include Abraham Lincoln, born Feb. 12, 1809, and eventually to encompass the high office and those who've held it. This is an ideal time to ignite our children's interest in the significance of our most powerful elected officials.

Fascinating facts surround the commanders-in-chief as Alice Provensen shows through rhymed text in her lavishly illustrated picture book "The Buck Stops Here: The Presidents of the United States."

And it is not just coincidental that Provensen uses money as a theme when paying homage to great patriots. Children's fascination with coins is a capital source for learning more about our presidents!

Give your child a penny and a quarter and, if you have one, a magnifying glass. Ask your child questions to spur interest and have fun with history.

* How many pennies make a dollar? (100)

* Whose profile is on the penny? (Abraham Lincoln's)

* What words are written above Lincoln's profile? (In God We Trust) What does that phrase mean?

* What building is on the back of the penny? (Lincoln Memorial) Look closely inside the memorial, what do you see?

* How many quarters make a dollar? (Four)

* Whose profile is on the quarter? (George Washington's)

* Find the word "liberty" on the quarter. What did this word mean when Washington was president? What does it mean today?

* Show your child the phrase above the memorial on the penny. It says "E Pluribus Unum," which translates as "Out of Many, One." Explain how this refers to the original 13 states uniting into one nation.

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