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A.L. Lotts celebrates the life of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ author
Fiddle playing and horse drawn carriage ride mark event

Fourth-grade students at A.L. Lotts Elementary School celebrated Laura Ingalls Wilder Day on Friday, May 7.

Teacher Kathy Alexander has been coordinating this special event for 19 years. This was her 11th celebration at Lotts.

“We are just a drop in the ocean when you consider how many schools around the nation celebrate the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” Alexander said.

Fourth graders had been preparing for this day for six weeks. They have read the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House on the Prairie” series of books and have studied pioneer life in their social studies classes.

The festivities began with a musical program, square dancing, fiddle playing and a five-scene play, all presented by the children. Students and teachers dressed in period clothing adding to the authenticity of the celebration.

Fourth-grade student Yndaisha Freeman was dressed in a blue and white gingham check dress, pinafore and bonnet, which were made by her grandmother especially for the celebration.

After the program, the students rotated through various pioneer demonstrations.

The demonstrations included quilting, participating in pioneer games and butter churning. A favorite event among the students was a ride around the school grounds on a horse-drawn carriage.

Fourth grader Devon Roe waited in line for a second ride on the carriage and said, “Laura Ingalls Wilder Day is so much fun.” She added, “We have been learning about her for weeks, and this just makes it all very real.”

A pioneer feast was held in the cafeteria to end the celebration.

Parents and students donated various meats, vegetables, breads and desserts similar to those prepared in the late 1800s.

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in Wisconsin in 1867. According to Wilder, her father, Charles, was a private man and when neighbors got too close, he would pack up his family and move them by covered wagon, still looking for his promised land.

Charles had a natural gift for storytelling, and Wilder believed that her writing talent was inherited from him. Detailing her life from age five to 18, Wilder wrote her stories with a pencil on a school tablet.

Her first book was titled, “Little House in the Big Woods.” Laura lived the pioneer life described in her books in Wisconsin, Kansas, Minnesota, Iowa and South Dakota, where her family finally settled.

Literary scholars have attested that the “Little House” books were a great hit with children who realized that the stories of the Ingalls family were true. The stories and subsequent television series were just as popular with teachers and parents.

“I am sure that Laura Ingalls Wilder had no idea of the influence that she would have on the lives of young people when she wrote her books,” Alexander said.

Laura Ingalls Wilder once told a reporter who asked about the success of her books, “I was amazed because I didn’t know how to write. I went to little red schoolhouses all over the west and I was never graduated from anything.”

Wilder died in 1957 at the age of 90.


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