Family literacy can be encouraged in many different ways from reading with your kids to learning about numbers and money. It is a way for parents to be lifelong learners and to be more engaged with their children’s education. One of our goals at Phelps is to introduce creative activities that can be designed for young children to learn about letters and numbers at home. During Portfolio Night at Sunnyside Elementary, Phelps put together simple activities for young students and parents to do while they waited to meet with the teachers; molding clay to the shape of numbers and letters was one of the fun options that families had the opportunity to try. By integrating simple literacy activities at home, parents can help awaken a love of learning and reading in their children, helping them flourish at school. This week for March Break, Phelps will be opening their door to families on Thursday, sharing the Phelps library and showing parents how to encourage their children to become active readers through a special read aloud. Families are welcome to join us at 1:00 at the Stone Circle in Stanstead for outdoor games followed by snacks and games at 272 rue Dufferin today.
Teamwork has always been a central part of Phelps. The opportunity to work collaboratively often generates that spark that ignites something truly special. The concept of Phelps started from two individuals brainstorming about how to address a real need within the community, and then reaching out to local resources to make a plan of action. Many community members knew that the systemic issue within Stanstead – one in three students do not finish high school – was never going to be effectively tackled by a single person; local youth needed a motivated team to support them. From the amazing work of our co-founders, to the dedication of our board, to the commitment of our staff and to the enthusiasm of our volunteers, Phelps is one of the best examples of teamwork that I have had the privilege to be a part of. As a small rural non-profit, Phelps has faced many obstacles, but they have been overcome by the creativity and hard work of its team. Teamwork offers support, encouragement and a different perspective. With our younger students, we encourage teamwork through hands-on chanllenges, showing them the infinite number of outcomes possible when working with others. On Tuesday evening, we had 24 high school students arrive after school, ready to study and do homework. As a team, our staff and volunteers welcomed them and made sure that every student was provided the individualized support they needed, whether it was math help, sitting in a quiet corner with one of our laptops or simply talking about the school day while working on a study guide. It was Hellen Keller that once said, "Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much."
Hooked on School week, which emphasizes school perseverance, was a busy week for Phelps and continued into this week for Sunnyside Elementary. Last week we asked students to choose a growth mindset quote as a team and make a poster with it, explaining why they connected with that particular quote. “If you can dream it, you can do it” and “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are” are just two of the quotes selected by our Phelps grade 3 through 6 participants. On Monday, grade 5 & 6 students walked down from their school to visit Phelps’ space at 272 rue Dufferin, a locale used weekly by our high school students. Our Phelps team welcomed them there, giving them a tour and showing them that once they are in high school, they will still have a place for them to study and get help with their homework. Katie Lowry, our Executive Director, was asked to present during Sunnyside’s assembly on Tuesday. She prepared a topic and a mini-talk about school perseverance, and was going to ask a few Phelps participants to come up and talk about their quote-posters. Much to our surprise, her plan went slightly awry: as soon as the principal announced that Katie was going to talk to the school, the entire group of Phelps participants – over 20 students – got up with her and proceeded to the stage. Smiling, she adapted her plan and continued on, talking about the power of perseverance and how adding ‘not yet’ to the end of your sentence might just give you the courage to learn a new skill or keep trying. “I’m not good at soccer YET”, “I haven’t finished school YET”, “I am not in love with fractions YET”. What an inspiring two weeks!