As anyone who has visited Pike Place Market can attest, the experience can be a bit of a sensory overload, especially for young kids who may not be able to see over the crowds.
But with the Market's Education Program, kids get an up close and personal look at the entire Market, from its history to its vendors and community aspects. The program is open to Seattle-area students in second through fifth grade.
The program begins with a classroom visit from program director Scott Davies, who gives a presentation that includes a history role play and a presentation on the Market's farmers. He then leaves behind a resource kit for the teacher to use in the classroom. And three weeks later, the students visit the Market for a field trip.
“We share stories about the Market and introduce them to merchants and we work on an assignment that focuses on the foods, jobs, and countries of the world as it relates to products and people that represent different countries, pointing to the diversity of the Market," Davies says. "These grades often study community in social studies so the market is a perfect example of a very vibrant, lively, diverse community so they learn about the market community in all its wonderful aspects, from the social services to the residents to the diversity of products sold here."
There's no cost for participating in the program, though classes are encouraged to do a food drive for the Market's food bank. "I really try to enrich the relationship that teachers and students can develop with the Market," Davies says.
The program sees about 2,300 kids a year, representing more than 100 classes.
"I really think it gives the kids a sense of ownership over the Market. We try to empower the kids so they can bring their families to the Market and share what they've learned," Davies says. "And we hear from a number of merchants that they do indeed do that. These are the next stewards and caretakers for the Market. So they need to know all they can about it and develop that sense of appreciation."