Learning together is fun for families

Anthony Little plays "library" with his sons at Roxboro Play-A-Day.

James Smith manages the second shift at a restaurant, meaning that he misses most evenings at home with his kids. Mary Curtis finds that between errands and housework and phone calls, she is busy all the time. Many families with school-age children are faced with a similar challenge: When is there any time to play or read with my children?

Talking, playing and reading with children during the preschool years builds the skills they need to succeed at reading, math and other school activities. This same kind of interaction keeps parents involved with their child’s education as they progress through school. Heights Parent Center is leading a partnership with the CH-UH City School District called the Family-School Connection, which aims to help families play and learn together.

Play-A-Day is a seven week family-literacy program that is the heart of the partnership. Each session begins with songs, dance and stories for the group. Then play is focused on a box containing “props” based on a theme. The grocery store box, for example, contains play food, newspaper circulars from local grocery stores, paper to make a grocery list, a calculator to add up prices, grocery store receipts, play money for counting, books about food and a shopping basket. Because everything you need in is one easy box, families can easily just focus on playing with their kids. “Our families love this!” says Keesha Tolliver, family liaison for Oxford and Fairfax. Remember James Smith? He so enjoyed the opportunity to play with his children, he rearranged his work schedule to come to Play-A-Day each week.

The Family-School Connection offers other activities for families in the schools, including monthly parenting workshops around topics chosen by parents during a survey conducted this fall. Workshops are held at Fairfax and Noble Elementary Schools through the winter and spring with topics including: Positive Behavior Strategies, Helping the Angry and Troubled Child, Raising Girls, Raising Boys, Countering the Influence of Popular Culture and more. All workshops are free, open to all CH-UH parents and include a light meal and childcare. See www.heightsparentcenter.org for the upcoming schedule.

Parent Centers are  now open at each school and will offer books and DVDs on a variety of topics related to child development, parenting approaches, special needs and gender issues. The materials will be available to loan out to parents and caregivers. Family liaisons will be available to speak to parents and provide information on other resources available in the schools and community.

“We are very excited about this partnership and the opportunity to help connect families to our schools,” said Tracy Hill-Adognravi, coordinator of the program. “We know that strong families build strong communities and that students whose parents are connected and involved in their child’s education achieve at higher levels. We want to make all of our schools places where parents feel more confident, involved and engaged in the learning process.”

Parent center hours at each school are listed below:

Boulevard:  Mondays – 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

                    Thursdays – 12:00 to 2:00 p.m.

Canterbury:  Thursdays and Fridays – 8:45 to 9:30 a.m.

                      Fridays – 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Fairfax:  Wednesdays and Thursdays – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Gearity:  Tuesdays – 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.

               Thursdays – 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.

                Fridays – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Noble:  Tuesdays – 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

             Wednesdays – 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Oxford:  Mondays and Tuesdays – 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Roxboro:  Mondays – 8:45 to 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

                 Tuesdays – 8:45 to 9:30 a.m. and 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Parents may also schedule an appointment to check out materials by calling Tracy Hill-Adognravi, at 216-321-0079. 

For more information about Heights Parent Center’s Family-School Connection program and activities please contact Tracy Hill-Adognravi at 216-321-0079, or visit www.heightsparentcenter.org.

Louisa Oliver is the executive director of Heights Parent Center and a long-time Cleveland Heights resident.

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Volume 2, Issue 2, Posted 2:47 PM, 12.19.2008