KET’s Early Childhood team worked with community partner, Neighborhood House to host a four week play and learn session for families with younger children, aged 3 – 5. Each session combines story time, games, and hands-on activities to make learning about science simple for the children and their families.
“Each night, we are just trying to show families that learning about science doesn’t have to be scary and complicated. The activities they complete demonstrate how we are learning about science every day and not even realizing it,” says Holly Ackerman, Early Childhood Education Consultant.
Each night starts with a meal before moving on to story time. The meal removes the obstacle of what to cook for dinner for the families while also promoting a sense of community. On night one, families tend to keep to themselves unless already acquainted but by the last night, friends have been made and it turns into a raucous dinner party!
After eating, the families gather to hear a story that focuses on what that night’s science lesson is about. At the end of the night, the children get to take the books home with them to inspire them to continue their learning. One parent commented that they continued to read the books after each session and discuss what they had learned in the various centers. This empowerment of learning outside the classroom is exactly what the KET team wants to hear.
To build on the concept introduced in the story, families rotate through four different centers spending ten minutes at each. The first night is all about forces and ramps. Together, they use common materials to build a ramp. Then, they take their ramp and try rolling different items down them to see how well each rolls and even reacts to different surfaces such as bubble wrap.
Week two turned out to be the fan favorite. Learning about shadows through the story and activities seemed to spark extra excitement in the kids. Whether they were drawing their silhouette or playing with shadow puppets, everyone was really involved in the science behind shadows.
A week later even, one little boy answered Eamonn’s questions about shadows correctly and without missing a beat!
One of the centers always focused on the Play and Learn Science App for the kids to explore the topic through educational games.
“I usually try to limit tablet time but I don’t worry when she’s on PBS apps because she’s learning while she’s playing.” – Baylee, mom.
Perhaps the most entertaining center to watch was the children pretending to be meteorologists and give a weather report. A few of them just might have a future in television!
At the start of the evening when asked if she was excited about tonight’s lesson on weather, Audrey, age 3 exclaimed, “I already know all about the weather. The winter come and knocked down our tree!” The weather certainly left a lasting impression on her!
“The best thing about this experience has been watching my child be excited to learn and not afraid to participate.”
At the end of the final night, the families gathered together for one last group photo. As almost all of them left, KET was asked repeatedly when they would be returning to do another workshop!
Make sure you visit the Ready to Learn Community landing page to learn about free resources and training, available apps, and upcoming events.