Will Everyone Enjoy This Program?

"The 'Pioneer Living Experience' assembly was one of the best assembly programs we have ever had at our elementary school. I had numerous positive comments from teachers regarding how appropriate the experiences were for our kindergarten-fifth grade students. I greatly appreciated how organized you were and how well you kept the attention of our students during your group presentations."

-Rex A. Kreuder, Principal, Lincoln Elementary School, Savanna, IL

"The 'Pioneer Living Experience' program you brought to the students, staff, and parents at Farmington View Elementary School has been the high point of this year's assemblies."

-Marilyn McGlassen, Superintendent/Principal, Hillsboro, OR

"In 28 years of teaching I have never seen such a wonderful 'hands on' presentation for young children. Thank you for making the past come alive for our very suburban audience. You are the essence of what education should be…enthusiasm, encouragement and freedom of exploration in a positive setting!"

-Helaine Damsky, First Grade Teacher, Juliette Low Elementary, Arlington Heights, IL

"Not only were our teachers and students impressed, but I probably received more positive feedback from parents than with any outside program in recent years."

-Peter McHugh, Principal, Peterson School, Scappoose, OR

"All through the day I heard students comment that this was the best assembly they had ever had. I still see students wearing their friendship bracelets and beaded necklaces to school. The Pioneer Living Experience fit perfectly within the state core curriculum for the fourth grade. Thank you very much for the unique and fun experiences which you provided for our students."

-Kevin R. Prusse, Assistant Principal, Wood Cross Elementary, Wood Cross, UT

"The teachers and students were unanimous in stating that 'Pioneer Living was the best assembly they'd ever had.' Many staff members made telephone calls to the schools where their children attend to recommend the program."

-Lee Wick, Principal, Beaver Acres School, Beaverton, OR

"I would like to take the time to thank you for the educational and enjoyable day our students experienced at St. Mary's school. The students raved about the presentation. They especially enjoyed all the hands-on activities you had available for them. Your knowledge and hard work was really appreciated by everyone."

-Lori Sikora, Staff, St. Mary's School, Uniontown, PA

"I have heard nothing but positive comments since you were here. The best thing about the program is that the kids still refer to it during their studying of other topics."

-Jeff Gunter, Principal, Central Howell School, Silverton, OR

"Children love to 'touch,' and nothing is off limits in this experience. The presenter adjusts the introduction to the level of students in attendance and the stations available readily reach every age. Teachers were very impressed with what the assembly offered and every comment made in reflection of the day was supportive and positive."

-Ann Rotherham, Principal, Emerson Hough Elementary, Newton, IA

"Thank you, thank you, thank you. Your program was fantastic. I've heard nothing but good remarks from parents, staff and students."

-Sandra Iles, Secretary, Rogue River Elementary, Rogue River, OR

"I have found the way to get genuine thanks and compliments from my staff after being the person that arranged for you to come. All of the comments from the staff and of course the students were absolutely positive. We are truly looking forward to your program next spring."

-Joan George, Fourth Grade Teacher, West Intermediate School, Sutherlin, OR

Is It Age-Appropriate For All Grades?

"On behalf of the faculty and staff of the Horace Mann School Early Childhood Center I want to express to you how much our students and staff enjoyed the activities and materials that you brought to our school! The activities were engaging for our preschoolers with special needs as well as for our preschoolers in the general education program. Your presentation to our three to five year old students was lots of fun as well as developmentally appropriate. We were thrilled to have you visit our school and we look forward to seeing you next school year!"

-Carol Crum, Ph.D., Principal, Horace Mann School, Blue Island, IL

"The 'Pioneer Living Experience' opened the door to another world for our third through eighth graders. The learning stations reflect the hours of thought and preparation that you have put into your presentation. I was truly impressed by all you said and did."

-Curt Simonson, Principal, Pikeland Community School, Pittsfield, IL

"Our entire school community was delighted with the quality of the program and the enthusiasm of the presenter. She was able to keep the attention and interest of our K-8 students with ease, adjusting her style to fit the appropriate age group. The most amazing part of the presentation was the vitality of Ms. Hess. She was as highly energetic during the last hour of the day as she had been during the first. The children found it easy to relate to her because she had a good sense of humor and concern for their enjoyment. She also had high expectations for their behavior during the presentation. I would highly recommend it to any elementary school."

-Sharon A. Warfield, Principal, St. Mary's School, Pontiac, IL

"Many times presentations miss the mark, but yours was perfect for all our grade levels. The displays, each activity, plus your organization and presentation was first of all a brilliant idea, and second, an exciting learning experience."

-Linda Warberg, Staff, Silver Crest School, Silverton, OR

"I wanted to let you know how well received your Journey Back In Time program was-with both children and the parents who assisted. Teachers, too, felt that the hands-on opportunities really gave the kindergartners a feel for like long ago. I talked with the Principal of Polaris who said that the fourth and fifth graders were equally enthralled with the hands-on activities. I think that a rating of 'Cool' is as high as you can go; you've made it! We look forward to having you return next year and we cannot praise your program enough-it's one of the best experiences our children (Kindergartners) have had."

-Mrs. Joyce Eddy, Principal, Greenwood School, Blue Island, IL

"Our children, grades K-8, all had positive things to say about the event. You have done a marvelous job putting together a program that meets the interest levels of such a wide range of students."

-Mrs. Teri Boyatt, Tualatin Valley Junior Academy, Hillsboro, OR

"Just wanted you to know that the students at St. Peter School absolutely loved the 'Journey Back In Time.' Even our 7th and 8th graders were enthused. Mark did a great job with our students. Thank you."

-Janet Bick, Principal, St. Peter School, Quincy, IL

"The response from staff and students was overwhelming! Tammy would change her approach for each different age group that entered. The hands-on museum idea really thrilled the children! They couldn't believe they were able to touch and try everything! Fifteen minutes after our sixth graders (our biggest critics) left, they were back with thank you notes to Tammy and our PTA! We have never gotten such a response to any of our previous events!"

-Danette Williams, PTA President, F. B. McCord Elementary, Burbank, IL

"We cannot say enough about the program!! Our children have made more enthusiastic comments about Ms. Hess and her activities than any other assembly we have ever had before. Ms. Hess was very professional and easy to work with. Her program was such a wonderful, hands-on learning experience; everything could be touched, handled, and used to learn. Our student body consists of students from K-5 and there was interest at every level with her activities. She geared her instructions to the age groups and was very understandable. It is an outstanding learning experience that our school is still talking about!"

-Martha Leeper, PTO President, Niantic-Harristown Grade School, Harristown, IL

Will It Tie In With Our State Curriculum Goals?

"The program was well organized, the presenter knowledgeable and the quality of projects engaged our students for the entire one and a half hours. We recommend this program for other schools and will definitely have Tammy back next year to enrich our pioneer study unit."

-Lil Mazur, Gifted Instructor, Oster-Oakview School, New Lenox, IL

"The assembly and hands-on experiences proved to be both educational and enjoyable for the students. In addition, your expertise and enthusiasm for the program contributed to the success of the day. The Family Night that followed the day's activities was a big success, as well. The students were so excited about the program that they begged their parents to bring them back to the evening event. It also proved to be a wonderful Parent Involvement activity that we will be documenting for our School Improvement Plan requirements for the State of Illinois. We will definitely be in touch with you to schedule your program in the future."

-Marcey L. Bolin, Superintendent, Ashton Community Unit School District #275, Ashton, IL

"This program was directly linked to our 4th grade curriculum goals and provided a stimulating springboard for further lessons. The students really experienced firsthand activities that pioneers did on a regular basis. I highly recommend the Pioneer Living Experience and Tammy Hess."

-Lori Klaus, Fourth Grade Teacher, Cornelius Elementary School, Cornelius, OR

"There is something to look at, read, touch, and try out at each location. Some stations such as the bead necklace station are individual work places while others like the toys encourage competitions and discussions. All of my students were hopeful that we would have the Journey Back In Time again next year! I hope we do, too, because so many stations fit into the categories of things we will discuss in our Social Studies units this year."

-Brenda Thompson, Fourth Grade Teacher, Central School, Pontiac, IL

"We were very pleased with the program and the children thoroughly enjoyed it. Mark is a wonderful man and we enjoyed having him here. Since this program ties in very well with our Social Studies unit on the Westward Movement, we would really like to have you back."

-Rajinder Dhillon, Second Grade Teacher, Lincoln Elementary, Yuba City, CA

"Thank you so much for bringing such a great learning experience to our children. I know that when they study the 'Gold Rush of '49' they will not only hear the stories, but they will remember that they once panned for gold in your program. When they hear about the simple life the pioneer children lived, they will know first hand about the games they played and the simple toys they had. The day gave them lessons they could never experience in the classroom. I know that this will give so much more meaning to their studies in the classroom. Yours is a first class assembly!"

-Jim Prombo, Principal, Southside School, Morrison, IL

"We were thrilled with your presentation and the opportunity you provided to teach all of our children about Kentucky and it's history. We have received many cards, phone calls, and comments from parents in response to the "Pioneer Day" event. They were all positive, expressing a strong desire to see this as an annual activity. Children have told us how much fun it was, and that they enjoyed learning by seeing, hearing, and doing!"

-Timothy C. Hagan, Principal, Hite Elementary School, Louisville, KY

"I have never seen a program where all students were actively engaged in hands on learning which was so appropriate to an elementary curriculum. The comments from the principal, teachers, students and parents were exemplary. Tammy did an outstanding job sharing her knowledge of pioneer life and relating to all students. I would highly recommend this program to any elementary school!"

-Donna Scott, First Grade Teacher, Ashton Elementary School, Ashton, IL

"I wanted to let you know how pleased we were with the program you provided on November 30th. The presenter, Fred, was knowledgeable, personable, and had a very nice way with the second graders he was working with. The hands-on approach was a great way for the children to experience what life was like in an age they will never know personally."

-Lois Riggs, Second Grade Teacher, Crim School, Bridgewater, NJ

What About Our Special Needs Students?

"I have taught children with mild and moderate mental impairments for 30 years, and yours is the first school-wide program that truly is appropriate for every child, regardless of age or ability level. This is such a refreshing change from "assemblies as usual." Instead of sitting near an exit so we could leave early when students became bored or restless, I spent the entire session photographing my students as they moved freely from one activity to the next. They were allowed to touch and manipulate everything without anyone hovering over them to protect the equipment. Rather than having to sit still and watch someone else perform, they were the performers - and they performed beautifully! My only regret is that we have to wait a whole year to have you back again!"

-Karen Carter, Primary M.I. Teacher, Central School, Pontiac, IL

"I want to thank you for the excellent learning experience that you provided for my class of elementary multiply handicapped students. The little 7 year old girl with cerebral palsy happily panned for gold and was thrilled when she turned up a piece. She also concentrated intently in the laundry section, and looked very proud each time she got a clothespin on a towel on the line. My Downs Syndrome boy gave your dough a real work out, from the actual working surface with the rolling pins and cookie cutters to placing it in the oven to bake – with a short but memorable stop in the butter churn. The very thin diabetic girl who has great difficulty focusing, was fascinated with the flour grinder. I was very impressed with you."

-Maria White, Teacher, Monroe Elementary, Port Angeles, WA

What Do Students Think Of The Program?

"Everyday during Social Studies I open my desk and take out my pen and pad. While in the process, I never forget to look in the corner of my desk and see the shiny, gold pyrite that I panned for during your demonstration. When I look at it I always wish we could experience Pioneer Day more often. Sometimes when I think back to Pioneer Day, I realize that you didn't do this just for us to have fun, you did it to take us back to the Pioneer Day's and I thank you very much for that."

-Jonas M. Azevedo, Our Lady of Miracles, Gustine, CA

"Thank you for the Journey Back In Time. I loved it. I liked shaving the old fashioned way. And gold panning. I never learned more about Pioneers ever."

-Matthew, Mrs. Retsema's class, Southwest Chicago Christian School, Oak Lawn, IL

"At other assemblies, you just get to sit there and it's boring and your butt goes numb. This was awesome!"

-Dillon Huyck, Morrison Elementary, Morrison, IL

"I really liked the show. I can't believe you let us touch all of the antiques that are almost 100 years old. I wish other shows were like that. Other shows only talk about history. You let us touch and play with the antiques and other things. We can make necklaces, bracelets, arrowheads, play with toys, make wheat flour, shave, and dig for fools gold. Thanks a lot."

-Bailey Quinlan, McCord School, Burbank, IL

"Thank you for bringing the assembly. My three favorite stations were the wool friendship bracelet, bead necklace, and the wooden toy station. I thought the story of Charlie Parker was going to be boring, but when you said that Charlie Parker was a woman…WOW!"

-Karla Cruz, Graham School, Newark, CA

"Thank you! I learned a lot from the assembly! I liked all the stations! I learned about fool's gold, sheep's wool, and much more! That was THE BEST assembly EVER!"

-Britni Volkman, Jefferson Elementary, Princeton, IL

© 2015 Pioneer Living