In the past, families from Cedar Brook Elementary would gather at the school with facilitators from the Houston Children’s Museum for an evening of in-person fun and learning. Thanks to thinking outside the box and a will to keep the programming going, 45 students and families recently joined together on Zoom to create some new memories.
Funded by a grant from the United Way, the museum event was organized at Cedar Brook Elementary by Communities in Schools Student Support Manager Juana Chavira. Supplies to make three seasonal decorations were pre-packaged and sent home with students so they and their families were equipped for a fun, lets-make-it-together evening with personnel from the Houston Children’s Museum.
To support literacy, each bag of supplies also included a book to read at home and add to the students’ personal libraries.
During the Zoom session, instructions in English and Spanish plus close-up, on-camera demonstrations got the kids and their families involved with making coffee-filter angels, paper bag piñatas and strings of sparkly ‘firecrackers’ to whirl around. They were able to see and share in each other’s creations through each family’s Zoom square.
“I would like more events like that because of the time I get to share with my family,” said parent Wendy Barrientos. “It also makes us feel connected to the school. My children had a lot of fun and it made them happy.”
Research shows that when families are involved with their children’s learning, success rates increase. Partnering with families this school year has required some reinvention but is no less important. Chavira has other virtual events with Children’s Museum scheduled for next semester, including a session focused on math activities in January.
“All the participating families get a free pass for a future visit to the Children’s Museum,” said Chavira. Definitely something to look forward to in 2021!
See more here about the SBISD Family Education, Engagement and Empowerment (Family E3) framework and programming.