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Naturally Educational » 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, History and Culture » To the Victor Goes the Olive Wreath

To the Victor Goes the Olive Wreath

One of the joys of having children is that I get to learn along with them! I had always thought that Olympic champions received laurel wreaths. Not so! The victors of the Apollo’s Pan-Hellenic Pythian Games at Delphi received the laurel but Olympians earned olive wreaths for their efforts.

This makes sense given the importance of the olive to the Ancient Greeks. The olive tree was a gift from Athena to her city of Athens. Olive oil was used for cooking and eating, medicine, light, personal hygiene, athletics competitions, and religious ceremonies.

Olive branches remain a symbol throughout history, representing not just victory but also wisdom (being the gift of Athena), hope (the dove flies back to Noah’s ark with an olive branch), and peace.


  • green paper
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • tape


1.  Fold the paper in half twice length-wise and then once width-wise so that when you cut you will have eight olive branches. Trace an olive branch shape on the paper.

2. Cut the olive branch shape out of the folded paper.

3. Tape two of the branches so the heads are facing one another.

4. Tape the rest of the branches, four on either side.

5. Fit the wreath to the head and trim any excess tape.

Educational Connections:

  • History and Culture and Language Arts: Read the myth of Athens selecting Athena as the patron goddess. Why did the Athenians choose the olive tree of Athena over the salt water spring of Poseidon? Why was Poseidon still important to the Athenians? Which gift would you have chosen and why?
  • Science and Health: What are some of the health benefits of olive oil?
  • Home Arts: Try using olive oil as a salad dressing. Have an olive oil tasting.
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Written by

Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, History and Culture · Tags: , , ,

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