Program teaches parental involvement strategies
Published: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 6:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 6:51 p.m.
A group of parents and students in Pre-K Exceptional Student Education programs in Alachua County gathered at Metcalfe Elementary School for an afternoon of reading activities, making and tasting butter, and planting sunflower seeds.
While the children enjoyed reading activities centered on the book "The Little Red Hen" by Paul Galdone, parents got to see their children interact with each other. Parents also received tips to engage their children in reading and take home reading activities at a Parent Involvement program held last March 19 at the school at 1250 NE 18th Ave.
Presented by Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System, or FDLRS, and hosted by the Exceptional Student Education program of the Alachua County School District, the program drew parents and students from Sidney Lanier, Waldo Elementary, Norton Elementary, and Metcalfe Elementary. FDLRS provides diagnostic, instructional and technology support services to district exceptional education programs and families of students with disabilities.
Dr. Barbara Henry, ESE supervisor for Alachua County Public Schools, said there also were parents and students from the Head Start program at Metcalfe.
"The students received hands-on opportunities to explore things they may have done in the classroom or new experiences," Henry said. "For parents it allowed for opportunities to share a book with their child and then use the strategies and techniques with other books."
The children had a blast singing and dancing to "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" and other songs. They interacted with Emily King, child-find specialist with FDLRS, who presented a very interactive reading of "The Little Red Hen" that included singing and dancing, feeling the texture of wheat and wheat grains, playing with little barnyard toy animals, making and tasting butter that they spread on Italian bread slices, and planting sunflower seeds in small cups to take home and replant.
Five-year-old Aaliyah Carter said her butter tasted better than store-bought, and she knew just where to plant her seeds at home.
"This is 100 times fun," Aaliyah commented.
Emily Rooks, human resource specialist for FDLRS, was on hand to give parents reading tips and take-home reading activities. Parents also had an opportunity to choose a book to read with their children at home.
Dominique Howard, who brought her four children, five-year-old Aaliyah Carter, four-year-old Dameian Taylor — both students at Metcalfe — 16-months-old Immanuel Howard, and three-months-old Denora Warren, said this was her first attendance at a parent involvement program but won't be her last.
"This is nice," said Howard. "I like being involved in my children's lives."
Sara Ramirez, who brought her two sons, five-year-old Mikey Ramirez and three-year-old Alexander Ramirez, was pleased to see her children having fun.
"I thought it was fun for the kids and I think they really enjoyed it," Ramirez said.
Marcos Lopez, who brought his five-year-old triplets, Ezequiel Lopez-Romero, Daniel Lopez-Romero and Jacob Lopez-Romero, said the activities were great because parents could see how their children interact, and also receive teaching activities and suggestions for home.
"It's great to get kids involved," Lopez said. "And parents have an opportunity to see how their children interact with other kids. Parents can really benefit from this program."