Voter turnout was near 100 percent on Election Day as close to 160 kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students at the Primrose School of Preston Hollow chose “Billy the Duck” as their new presidential friend mascot.
Exit polls indicated that Billy’s campaign promise of Goldfish crackers for afternoon snack resonated more with the electorate than his opponent’s guarantee of Nutri-Grain bars.
Primrose students learn lessons from 13 puppets that each represent a different character trait. Billy’s trait is “keeping promises.”
“We want children to enjoy giving back to their local community,” said franchise owner Julia Shelton. “Voting is a great way for each of them to get involved and feel connected.”
The mock vote was written into the Primrose curriculum to help students learn more about voting within a context that is relatable to them. Organizing an election also helped teach the importance of citizenship and civic involvement, Shelton said. The inclusion of the afternoon snack as a choice was intended to illustrate the fact that voting can affect real-life events.
Shelton was hopeful the activity would prompt conversations about the presidential election at family dinner tables.
In preparation for the big vote, community leaders read to classes. Students then presented their ID cards at the voting booth and received “I voted” stickers after casting their ballots.
Shelton said parents and students alike seemed to enjoy the event. While most of the children did not know much about the candidates or issues being debated in the national presidential election, they were aware that an election was going on. The school vote presented a timely learning opportunity about something that was on the minds of nearly everyone.
“By the end of the day, they were very aware of the general election process,” Shelton said.