For many people, the American political system can seem complex and somewhat confusing, especially with the 2016 election around the corner.
Imagine trying to teach it to younger children.
This was the goal of two political science teachers on Thursday, Jan. 21. Amidst the lingering ice and the persistent cold across Clarksville, professors Mike Gruszczynski and Kate Hunt visited Little Scholars Montessori School to talk with the children about the general structure of the American political system.
Gruszczynski said the experience was interesting and very different from what he usually does.
“I had to slow the information down,” Gruszczynski said. “I went from teaching sophomores and juniors in college to little kids. They did know a lot of the structure. They were asking a lot of questions.”
While the professors focused on the three branches of our own government, the children asked a variety of questions during their time there, even asking about international governments like those of Israel and the U.K.
Conversation topics ranged from the powers of the British monarchy to the differences between the American system and the Chinese system.
“We didn’t really know what to expect when we came,” Hunt said. “It really sheds light on where your own students are coming from. We were very happy to volunteer.”
The professors said they were pleased with their time there, and even talked about the possibility of taking their own students to do something similar in the future. They said the unique perspective of the children might be a refreshing change of pace.
“It’s fun because these kids aren’t cynical yet,” said Gruszczynski. “They’re not battle-hardened warriors like most adults are these days. We tend to look at the negatives of our system a lot, but these kids didn’t see much of that.”