Maritime Folk Arts in Education

The goals of this 4th-grade program include teaching students about a traditional occupation, family and community traditions, and educating teachers on folklife resources in the community. Because the maritime traditions are rapidly vanishing from Long Island, it is critical that students learn about these resources before they disappear. The program is offered in class and remotely.

The program consists of 3 in-class meetings, an intensive hands-on or virtual workshop experience with tradition bearers, a field trip where appropriate, and one day of teacher workshops and evaluation. Students and teachers will be introduced to concepts of folklore and folklife and various maritime traditions, including working on the bay, the experiences of dragger fishermen, decoy carving and duck hunting, and bay houses.

Students will work closely with tradition bearers in both hands-on projects and interview situations. The folklorist will develop appropriate classroom materials and meet with students afterwards to discuss the results of their project. Bayman Tom Jefferies, a folk artist with extensive education experience, will present powerpoint presentations using maritime artifacts on two of the in-class days. Students will work with Maritime Folk Artists, interviewing the folk artist and creating a traditional object. This is done during an in-house workshop that lasts approximately 3 hours. Students will also go on a field trip that is appropriate to their location.

The total cost for the program is $3,000 for 3–4 classes. The program is eligible for BOCES funding. To participate, the district must contact Long Island Traditions by October. All programs take place in January–April, with the exception of the field trip. Teacher preparation days take place in November–January. Read what one principal has to say about the program here.