Students ‘Blast Off Into Learning’

Romina Gomez, age 5, watches her father try to hula-hoop at the 10th annual Family Literacy and Math Conference Saturday at Sneaky Park. Gomez was one of several students ranging from preschool to eighth grade invited to join the event sponsored by the College of Education. The goal of the conference was to give parents ideas to help their children succeed. The conference included activity booths for the children. / photo by Celene Vargas
Romina Gomez, age 5, watches her father try to hula-hoop at the 10th annual Family Literacy and Math Conference Saturday at Sneaky Park. Gomez was one of several students ranging from preschool to eighth grade invited to join the event sponsored by the College of Education. The goal of the conference was to give parents ideas to help their children succeed. The conference included activity booths for the children. / photo by Celene Vargas

Emily Lau
Metro Editor

Elementary school students and their families explored different fun activities in literacy, math and movement at the 10th annual “Blast Off Into Learning” Family Literacy and Math Conference Saturday morning at Sneaky Park.

More than 750 people attended the conference and discovered how to connect information taught at school and life at home.

The conference also provided parents with child activity ideas.

“(The event) has grown over the years and at first it was just literacy, but now we’ve added math to it,” said Andy Steck, assistant professor of education.

“We would like to eventually add science into it. We’ve done some movement sections as well this year; that’s the main difference.”

After they signed in and received free children books, families selected from more than 30 presentations about literacy, math and movement and learning to attend, including five in Spanish.

Presentations covered a variety of topics, including storytelling, basic algebra functions and physical exercise and they were presented by more than 100 ULV faculty, students and volunteers from community organizations like Bright Prospect at various locations on campus.

Presenters organized their activities to cater to children of all grades, ranging from preschool to eighth grade, which helped parents choose which presentations to attend according to their children’s ages.

Some activities also allowed parents to participate with their children to emphasize that they were not just restricted to younger people.

“I wanted my kids to learn something new and to entertain themselves,” parent and Pomona resident Guadalupe Robles said. “Sometimes we just need them to explore.”

Children enjoyed arts and crafts that were offered in the park after the presentations and a Yoobi truck let children experiment with its school supplies and stationaries.

Eleven children’s book authors (Grammy Lyn, Lee Wardlaw, Steve Gray, Torrey Mahall, Kristen Kittscher, Shannon Messenger, James Mihaley, Eric DelaBarre, Stacia Deutsch, Derek Taylor Kent and Elana Arnold) attended the conference and held presentations to talk with families about their books.

Families then enjoyed a free boxed lunch and book fair sponsored by Barnes and Noble. The authors were present to interact with the guests and sign books.

The conference concluded with laser shows in Morgan Auditorium.

The Math and Literacy Conference started 10 years ago by Professor of Education Marga Madhuri and Professor of Education Cindy Cary, who both teamed up to work on an educational project.

Madhuri observed students from both low-income and high-income schools and was stunned by the difference between the two and the lack of resources that low-income students had.

“The kids from poorer schools did not have access to the same books and crafts and activities that kids from wealthier families had,” Madhuri said. “I thought we really needed to support them, especially families from poor areas, with more things to do at home.”

Emily Lau can be reached at emily.lau@laverne.edu.

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