November 21, 2016

MASON, OH – Flags were waving during Mars Hill Academy’s annual first grade USA Party, a celebration of the students learning to recite all 50 states and point them out on a US map.  Activities included special USA-themed treats, games, a parade around the school, and a geography song concert for parents.

“We teach the states region by region, through song and movement,” said first grade geography teacher Mrs. Melanie Ruppersburg.  “Before they know it, they have learned the entire United States, and it’s amazing how easily they remember the locations on the map.”

MHA first grader Elena Cernucan of Mason particularly loved learning the songs for the Pacific coast states.  “As soon as I got home, I would run though the house singing the song because I loved it so much.”

Teaching geography in the early grades is part of the classical curriculum which distinguishes Mars Hill Academy from other independent schools. The classical method teaches to a child’s natural tendencies at any given age.

“At the early stages of development, children love rhyming, singing, hand motions and movement.  They love repetition, and their capacity for memorization is astounding,” said Ruppersburg.  “Because we teach geography in such a fun and engaging way, by the end of first grade they have learned not only all 50 states and their locations, but also the countries within Central America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and parts of Africa.  And they love every minute of it!”

Elena enjoys sharing her songs with her family. “When I told my dad I was learning about Africa, he wanted me to teach it to him!”

Mars Hill Academy seniors will attest to the fact that these catchy geography tunes stay with them throughout their school experience.  “When I hear the young students singing them in the halls during one of their geography parades, it all comes back to me,” said MHA senior Anna Edwards of Liberty Township. “I can still remember how much fun it was learning those songs.”

Photo: Mars Hill Academy first graders Lindsay Wos of Mason and Elena Cernucan of Mason get into the patriotic spirit during their class’s USA Party.