While working on my Master’s thesis in Early Childhood Education, I was inspired by a patriotic post-911 children’s book “We the Kids” (Catrow, 2002). This delightfully illustrated book introduced kids to their U.S. Constitution by explaining the Preamble to the Constitution.
The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, which is short enough for children to memorize, could have been a founding father’s mission-statement for our new fledgling nation. It is listed below, with all original misspellings and miss-capitalizations according to today’s editing practices, from the online source Wikipedia.org.
The United States Constitution, Preamble
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,
promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty
to ourselves and our Posterity,
do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
The Preamble can be taught as an exciting story announcing the reasons our founding fathers wrote the Constitution so many years ago. Explaining each line to your young students will not only help them to understand the Preamble and the Constitution better, but the turbulent time in U.S. history as well.
“We the people of the United States,” (all United States citizens; children, moms and dads)
“in Order to form a more perfect Union,” (to make a better place for all of us to live together)
“establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare,” (set up a honest government and fair laws to protect all our homes and families so we can feel safe and tell everyone else about it)
“and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,” (claim our God-given right to be free and pass that freedom onto our children and their children)
“do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (a written list of ways we are free in America)
When explaining the Preamble to your students have them break into groups and act them out for the rest of the class, line by line. Once memorized, your children will have a clear picture of the meaning behind our United States Constitution. The lesson plan for teaching the actual Constitution is in Part II of this series, “The Bill of Rights & Beyond” as well as “Teaching School-Age Kids U.S. & State Songs” on my news page online at AssociatedContent.com/cmajors.