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Family Art Night scheduled during parent-teacher conferences week

WORTHINGTON -- Parents and students are invited to attend Family Art Night during conferences week at Prairie Elementary. Families may come to the school cafeteria between 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday to have a fun...

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Grace Gaalswyk, 5, paints at the Family Art Night on Tuesday afternoon. Martina Baca / Daily Globe.

WORTHINGTON - Parents and students are invited to attend Family Art Night during conferences week at Prairie Elementary.

  Families may come to the school cafeteria between 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday to have a fun and creative time together. Jayme Wiertzema, third- and fourth-grade art teacher, said she wanted to make conferences week a little more fun than usual, and thought an arts and crafts activity would be a great way to achieve that goal.

  “I thought a fun way to get families to stay and make a night out of conferences would be to have an event during conferences where they can come and go and create art during that time,” said Wiertzema, who hosted the event Tuesday afternoon for the first time. “It’s also a good way for families to be together.”

  Wiertzema, along with the help of other teachers, has set nine stations inside the school cafeteria at which children and parents can experiment with different mediums. She explained that there are a variety of options from which kids can choose, such as a superhero station - where they can write comics and create their own masks - as well as printmaking, coloring, Legos, water color painting and game stations, among others.

  “We recognize how important parent involvement is, so this is just another way to involve parents in school,” Prairie Elementary Principal Heidi Meyer said. “It’s also an opportunity for us to showcase our art program here.”

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  Meyer added that this is a chance for kindergarten students and first- and second-graders to experience art and get a taste of what elementary-level art looks like.

  Conferences week is a time during which teachers discuss how students are performing academically, and Wiertzema said it can cause distress to some kids. She hopes those students can channel those feelings in a positive way during this time.

  “Some kids might get nervous about conferences or it might not be fun for them to talk about how they are doing academically, so then they can come here and relax,” she said.

  Wiertzema said Family Art Night is not only a chance for students to relax, but also an opportunity for parents to see the positive things students are doing in school that aren’t necessarily reflected on their report cards or grades.

  “I think it’s important for parents to see the creativity in their kids because in conferences they talk about their math and reading ... so this is a cool way to look beyond that and do something a little bit different,” she said,

  Sherry Gaalswyk and her 5-year-old daughter, Grace, were having a great time together at the coloring station Tuesday. Gaalswyk said Grace is always doing some kind of art project when she is at home because she thinks art is great way to develop her creativity.

  “She loves art,” Gaalswyk said. “She knew what was going on and she asked, ‘Can we go to the cafeteria and color?”

  Gaalswyk said the Family Art Night event is a great way to bring families together and encourage parents to spend that extra time with their kids - which, in the long run, will help strengthen the relationship between parents and their children.

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  “Children know when parents have time, and if you are always busy or you don’t have time to do little things …  those are the big things to kids,” she said. “If you show them that you are willing to share with them, I think as they grow older they will return that and will want to spend time with you, too.”

  Meyer, as well as Gaalswyk, said the involvement of parents in education plays a fundamental role in the future success of children.

  “Parents are kids’ first teachers and the partnership with us is completely imperative to their overall success,” Meyer said. “So this is a way for kids to see their parents getting involved, and an opportunity for parents to show their support for education.”


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Carrie Hare her daughters Rosaline, 6, and Camila, 4, paint together at the Family Art Night Tuesday afternoon. Martina Baca / Daily Globe.

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