HAMILTON, Mont. - Youngsters in the Bitterroot found Halloween,and a Fall Festival celebration are excellent springboards for education.
Second graders at Corvallis Primary School learned more about historic agricultural practices, and preschoolers in Hamilton were developing an appreciation of literature.
Professor Polyester read from his Halloween book, "A Witch Has," at the Hamilton Public Library.
"A witch has a hat," read the professor, "change the H to C, and the witch has a cat."
The writer and poet, better known as Dominic Farrenkopf, was dressed in his Professor Polyester costume, and enthralled little kids at story time. Farrenkopf, like his character, the professor, loves words. He encourages youngsters to appreciate the magic of words.
"I think it's important for them to start at a young age," said Farrenkopf, "developing a creative side, so they can see how much fun is in literature."
Corvallis Primary School second graders came to the Teller Wildlife Refuge for a class in the open air.
On this fall day, Kent Connor took the students for a carriage ride pulled by his team of Belgian draft horses.
"We're appreciating what happens in the fall," said second grade teacher Mary Richardson, "and Corvallis history."
It's a history of farming, ranching and animals.
Connor's big, gentle horses were a huge hit with the youngsters. They learned that draft horses have played an important role in agriculture.
"Belgian horses are working horses," said second grader Thad Madsen. "They pulled hay around, and whatever the ranchers needed them to pull."
Riding in that carriage, the students celebrated a festival of fall.