BY LEAH LEVY / AJT //

First graders at the Greenfield Hebrew Academy (GHA) donned tricorns and mob caps to perform at the school’s annual Colonial Festival, celebrating their Early American History unit.

GHA first-grade students Manny Pargman  (L-R), Simon Berry, Ty Stern, Yael Mainzer, Kayla Minsk and Natanel Gold. PHOTO / GHA

GHA first-grade students Manny Pargman (L-R), Simon Berry, Ty Stern, Yael Mainzer, Kayla Minsk and Natanel Gold. PHOTO / GHA

Each year, first-grade students study Colonial America with teachers Beth Intro, Gail Skolsky and Emily Pullman. Using a variety of study methods – dramatic portrayals, hands-on activities and supplemental reading material – the youngsters become experts on life in “the Colonies.”

The culmination of all this hard work is the aforementioned Festival, for which first graders invite friends and family to GHA, perform a concert of patriotic songs from Colonial days and dance both the Minuet and a square dance onstage.

They also show their guests the many aspects of Colonial life, demonstrating the use of dyes to color cloth, how to make butter and sachets, how to write with quill and ink and how to play with colonial toys.

This year, there was even a beautiful replica of the Mayflower built by Jean Paul Pentecouteau, GHA volunteer. Pentecouteau’s hard work, enthusiasm and experience as an architect produced a ship that could only have come from a true craftsman.

As a finishing touch, the first graders introduced an example of cross-stitch needlework, a technique commonly used in the Colonial Era. They enjoyed incorporating the symbol of the Greenfield Hebrew Academy into their presentation with the help of Principal Leah Summers.