Parents join in on early educationPublished 4:29pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Students and teachers of the Inside Track classrooms at Justus Gage Elementary School were decked out in yellow Wednesday to celebrate early childhood education.
Children and teachers donned yellow shirts, complete with hats, wands and glasses decorated with stars for their first Star Power Party. The celebration is aimed at recognizing the importance of early childhood education, giving parents and families a voice in their student’s learning. A few parents attended the parties, parading around the school where fellow students lined the hallways to cheer for them.
“These parties are actually happening across the state today,” Heather Merrill, Great Start coordinator for Lewis Cass Intermediate School District, said. “A lot of educators took the parties local and wanted to shout-out to legislators that these services and support are important.”
The Star Power party allowed parents to view exactly what their children do when at school, giving them a better understanding of how early childhood education programs are funded. Merrill said that, because of this opportunity, parents can then communicate to state legislators that funding for the programs should be kept or increased.
“We as educators are known to say these things, but, when parents say them, it means something a lot different,” Merrill said.
Brooke Maxfield, an Inside Track classroom teacher at the school, said she was happy to see parents participating with their children.
“This has been a great experience,” Maxfield said. “We have some really awesome parents and having them involved is really nice.”
Dawn Potter’s daughter, Kaitlynn, is in the class, and she said she was glad to receive an inside look into her daughter’s school day.
“It’s awesome and emotional,” Potter said. “It’s all wrapped up into one. I know Kaitlynn thought it was great.”
Merrill said having parents attend the parties helped in more ways than they might have realized.
“They realize they are their child’s first teacher,” Merrill said. “It’s local and grass roots, but it’s connected to something bigger.”