Named after the “Father of the Constitution” and the 4th President of the United States, the James Madison Initiative is the Liberty Day Institute’s principle engaging, multifaceted, educational program.

The Initiative, which centers on both teacher and volunteer instruction, parental involvement, and community participation, takes place annually on or around Liberty Day (March 16, James Madison’s birthday), Law Day (May 1), and/or Constitution Day (September 17) in various states and capital cities across the country. Our objective is to enable as many 5th graders as possible, regardless of socioeconomic status, to benefit from our educational materials as well as presentations by classroom speakers.

Two of our most successful James Madison Initiatives have consistently taken place in Colorado and Wyoming. The Liberty Day Institute is pleased to have been awarded a $50,000 grant from the Daniels Fund to provide our materials at no cost to 5th grade teachers and students throughout the state of Colorado; recruit statewide and local elected officials, attorneys, and community members as classroom speakers; and offer students the chance to visit the Colorado State Capitol. Click HERE for more information on the Colorado James Madison Initiative and how to get engaged.

For the past four years, the Institute has partnered with the Wyoming State Bar to distribute materials and arrange for attorney presentations to almost every fifth grade class in the state at nearly 300 elementary schools! This massive effort is funded in large part by the Bar, which also takes the lead in recruiting and assigning volunteer attorneys as classroom speakers.

Why the 5th grade?

The Three Elements

The James Madison Initiative generally involves the following main elements.

1. Foundations, community organizations (i.e. Optimist or Lions Clubs, Bar Associations, political groups), and/or businesses donate to the Liberty Day Institute or purchase the Liberty Day Institute’s Complete Educational Resource Package for fifth grade classes at one or more elementary schools in their area. The materials will be sent directly to the teachers for use in lessons on the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.

2. Volunteer attorneys, elected officials, college students, community members, and others will visit fifth grade classrooms on or around Liberty Day, Law Day, or Constitution Day to review the Liberty Day Institute curriculum with the students after the teachers and parents have gone over the 24 Q&As with their students.

3. Select schools/classes may have the opportunity to compete in a contest and win a field trip to their state capitol, a college campus, or other special locations to quiz legislators, lobbyists, college students, faculty, and others on the U.S. Constitution and what participating the Liberty Day Institute Kids have learned.

What Teachers Are Saying

“We examined a copy of the Constitution in our text with kid friendly language in parenthesis; then I gave students their own copy, establishing a climate of pride that they could hold it in their hand but the hand was not enough. It has to be a matter of heart to protect its guarantees. We examined pictures/symbols and students looked through booklet to find phrase symbols represented; after that I encouraged students to take out Q and A cards and test their family knowledge while sharing what we learned in class.” – Sherry Grosenbach
“Absolutely! Fifth grade students love to learn in what I like to call ‘camouflage.’ They don’t realize they’re learning something new when it’s presented in a non-threatening, fun way. The kids loved the cards because we played a game [with them].” – Teri Bedford
“The kids were amazed how few pages there are for such an important document. Knowing about and being familiar with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution is vital to the education of every American child. I like how it followed 9-11, we do a commemorative activity for 9-11.” – Linda Mathers