Mitchell Elementary hosts grandparents, special people at event
Second annual event brings students, elders together to learn from each other
Teaching and learning between generations was the theme of Walter J. Mitchell Elementary’s second annual Grandparents/Special Persons Day.
“I think it’s wonderful, not only for the grandparents, but for our special visitors as well,” Mitchell Principal Sabrina Robinson-Taylor said during the Nov. 22 event. “The students were just bubbling with excitement this morning.”
Last year, the event was known as Grandparents Day, but the school decided to open it up for other visitors as well, Robinson-Taylor said.
“We realized that some students aren’t fortunate enough to have living grandparents, or their grandparents live far away, so we extended it … to other family members,” she said.
The event was divided into a one-hour session for guests of older students in the morning and a second one-hour session for guests of younger students in the afternoon, Robinson-Tay- lor said.
She said 532 grandparents and others attended last week’s event, and the visitors were incorporated into the lesson plans for the day.
“Within some of the classes in the morning, they spoke about the differences in school life back years ago compared with school life today. So it’s beneficial on both ends. Grandparents are hearing about ClassDojo and SmartBoard and all this terminology they may not know, they’re being introduced to, and then the kids are being introduced to one-room schoolhouses, and classrooms being heated by a furnace, and things [of] that nature, multiple grades in one room, so they are being immersed in what school was like years ago, so they’re real- ly learning from each other,” Robinson-Taylor said.
In addition, a few guests were accompanied by service dogs.
“Many of our students haven’t seen service dogs before,” Robinson-Taylor said. “So that became a learning experience as well.”
She said having grandparents and other family members in the school helps strengthen the bond between the school and the community.
“We want our families to feel like they’re a part of school life,” the principal said. “We want it to have that open schoolhouse feel, because we still are very much a community.”
Didtra Lynch attended the Mitchell event to spend time with her granddaughter, Milan Wilt, a kindergarten student.
“For me, it was important for her to know that her grandmother is supporting her in her education and that I’m there for her,” Lynch said.
Milan said the best part of having her grandmother in school was that she got to play with her.
Debbie and Bill Mancuso watch as their grandson, kindergartner Cason Specht, works on a coloring assignment at Walter J. Mitchell’s second annual Grandparents/Special Persons Day Nov. 22.
Walter J. Mitchell Elementary School Principal Sabrina Robinson-Taylor takes photos as kindergarten students work on assignments with grandparents and others.