School day for parents

Family Connection gives education a boost

Thursday was an educational day, but not for children.

Parents were the target of the East Elementary School Family Connection Day, a time for parents of kindergartners to learn how to bolster education at home.

"Parents can work with kids so they can see what teachers see on a daily basis," Principal Diana Cook said. "It's a really good learning opportunity for parents."

Family Connections Day started about four years ago, when kindergarten teachers were frustrated with half days and a lack of education among parents about what they could to help their children.

The concept of family connections was born. Parents spend 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours at the school four times a year, but instead of listening to a teacher talk about their child's skills, they see for themselves.

"It's a great opportunity for parents to come in and see the activities," Cook said. "Sometimes when kids bring things home, parents don't know what kind of effort went into do them."

Parents get to watch their children work on activities and get tips for doing similar activities at home.

"Parents become much more aware of what they need to do with kids at home," Cook said.

Kindergarten teacher Tiffany Trevenen stressed that Family Connection Day is not a parent/teacher conference.

She said research shows that when parents go into the schools, their children's performances improve. Teachers give parents activities they can do at home that reflect what students are learning in the classroom.

"We try to teach the parents what we're doing," she said.

She said parents get a better perspective on their children's progress on the skills required, compared with other students.

The feedback Trevenen receives is overwhelmingly positive.

Thursday's event was the third of the year, and only three parents were no shows.

"This is just wonderful," Trevenen said. "I won't ever give it up."

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