OCEANSIDE — Fourth-grade students and their parents had an opportunity to bone up on history with a behind-the-scenes tour
of Mission San Luis Rey on Nov. 15, led by historian Mary Roper. The tour took visitors through the mission grounds, church and gardens and educated them on the Luiseno Indians and mission friars.
The guided tour allowed access to some restricted areas. “We went in the church choir loft,” Roper said.“We usually don’t get to do that.” The tour also included the lavanderia wash area and a look at the building used for the mission hospital.
By the end of the tour, fourth-graders were “little encyclopedias” of mission facts.
“Indians used obsidian to make arrows,” Anthony DiChiara, 9, of Carlsbad, said. “They hunted rabbits and practiced on rocks. Their grandparents helped them a lot.”
Parents appreciated the tour of the working mission that allowed their children to hear mission history while they walked the grounds of a mission that still houses friars and continues community outreach.
In addition to a rich history lesson, the students also got some practical tips on how to build a model of the mission and put together a report poster board. Roper demonstrated how to stack up Milk Dud boxes to create the shape of the mission and how to use colored paper hole punch dots as fruit on “mini” lemon, olive and peach trees in the missions orchard.
“She showed us how to make a mission out of recycled material,” Miranda Arendt, 9, of Anaheim Hills, said. Miranda has been assigned to write a report on the mission and make a model of Mission San Luis Rey and might use a few of the ideas she learned. “If you can show the kids how to do it, they learn a lot more,” Robert DiChiara of Carlsbad said.