Educators agree that parent involvement is an important part of student success and schools are always looking for ways to lure parents into an environment where they can learn alongside their kids.
Casey County schools recently teamed up with Lowe’s home improvement store in Danville for after school programs that proved the old saw “If you build it, they will come” to be true.
About 300 parents and kids showed up at the county’s three elementary schools this month to hammer together airplanes, totem poles and other small wooden playthings from kits and materials supplied by Lowes.
District curriculum coaches Pam Patterson and Sandy Godbey explained that they had tried various things to help encourage parent involvement and activity with students in the past, including reading activities, book give-aways and handing out board games. They began looking for fresh ideas at the beginning of the school year that would generate renewed excitement and participation.
“We just wanted something different. Something that parent and child could still work on together,” Patterson said. “Something they could build.”
Ideas ranged to Lego sets and other similar types of toys to encourage a hands-on activity. Patterson, who was aware of the Build and Grow programs for kids that Lowe’s hosts on weekends and in the summer, decided to see if the Danville store would be interested in lending a hand.
Patterson contacted Kelley Steimle, a Casey County resident who captains Lowe’s Build and Grow projects. Typically, Lowe’s does not take their Build and Grow program on the road, Steimle explained, but since the company doesn’t have a store in Liberty, it was decided an exception could be made. Steimle, assistant manager Phil Morin and some of the store’s employees agreed to volunteer their services to help the program to Casey’s schools.
The workshops took place over three separate Tuesday nights, Feb. 5 at Liberty Elementary, Feb. 12 at Walnut Hill Elementary and Feb. 19 at Jones Park Elementary. Using a variety of kits, including some with themes based on popular movie characters such as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, children and parents at the three schools happily — and safely — worked side-by-side.
“We only had one accident,” Godbey said, explaining there was a little blood spilled from a minor cut at Jones Park. “To have that many kids and only need one Band-aid...”
Boys and girls, some as young as 2, really seemed to enjoy working with tools, especially the tiny hammers and nails that were used to complete some kits.
Godbey said that along with getting parents involved, the Build and Grow project might have inspired future carpenters or homebuilders.
“Kids may want to be builders. This could have sparked an interest,” Godbey said.