4th Grade Field Trip: Mission San Juan Capistrano (by Miss Rachel Burgett)

This year, the St. Paul’s 4th graders had the exciting opportunity to visit Mission San Juan Capistrano as part of our social studies curriculum! All month long the students have been learning about the Mission system, and the critical role it played in California’s journey to statehood. 

When we first arrived at the Mission, the students were led out into the gardens (which still produce fresh fruit and vegetables for the community!) and participated in a brick making class. The early missions were constructed out of adobe bricks; which are made out of water, straw, dirt, and cow manure. They were not very thrilled to learn that this would have been their job if they were to live in the time of Father Serra!

Once the students mixed together the ingredients for their bricks, they wrapped them in newspaper clippings to dry, and set them into wooden molds. The bricks take two to three days to dry, and they have to be flipped from side to side once a day. Next time you see one of the 4th graders walking around, be sure to ask them how their bricks turned out!

After our class, the students were split into groups led by docents of the Mission, to take a step back into history. We had the chance to view the gardens, the priest's quarters, the original kitchen, and Father Serra’s chapel. When we think of all the delicious produce California has to offer; such as oranges, apples, and corn, you might be surprised to learn that the Spanish brought those crops from Europe. That was just one way that the missions impacted California history.