Local families come together to read, dance and play
Wednesday, 27 February 2013 14:29

Norwood hosts Special Area Night

by Nicole Rodman

    For “many, many years,” as principal Patrice Goldys noted last Wednesday, Norwood Elementary School has held its annual Special Area Night.
    Celebrated for the past 18 years, Norwood’s Special Area Night is a chance for students and their families to come together and share in music, physical education, reading and the arts.
    Last Wednesday, Feb. 20, Norwood held its Special Area Night, highlighting the many special subjects that add balance to the academic curriculum.
    During the evening, families and students got the chance to participate in a wide variety of interactive activities.
    In the library, media specialist Penny Setser and various parent volunteers aided children as they browsed the ever-popular book fair.
    In the school gym, physical education teacher Matthew Berkey led student participants in the Jump Rope for the Heart program.
    Prior to the event, students collected sponsors who will give them donations depending on how much they jump rope in a set time span.
    In addition to being great exercise, the activity also raised funds that go to benefit the American Heart Association.

As the evening continued, student performers in the school’s M & M (music and movement) dance troupe performed for an enthusiastic crowd of parents, teachers and fellow classmates.
    These activities gave students a chance to exercise their bodies as vigorously as they exercise their minds.
    There were also a number of activities that worked out students’ brains.
    In the reading room, parent services coordinator Stacey Wade handed out STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) activity kits to each family.
    The kits consisted of a backpack filled with science books and supplies designed to encourage parents and students to do their own science experiments at home.
    According to Goldys, the kits are part of Norwood’s efforts to incorporate more STEM activities into the school curriculum.
    Also available in the reading room was the Family Involvement Museum, which provided information on the various ways parents can become more involved in their children’s education.
    Areas of the museum included communication, learning at home, collaborating with the community, decision-making, volunteering and parenting.
    At each station, parents could pick up information and share feedback which will enable Norwood staffers to better serve parents and students alike.   
    Parents could also pick up some pointers on problem-solving at home with visiting speaker Dr. M.E.B. Lewis of Kennedy Kreiger Institute.
    At the front of the school, parents could even get information about Norwood’s Camp Invention, a summer camp program for students in kindergarten through grade two.
    Camp Invention is a week-long camp that encourages creative problem solving in children.
    While the regular cost of the program is $225 per child, 30 scholarships are available.
    One of the most crowded areas was the art room, where delighted children got the chance to create clothespin clones of themselves using clothespins, yarn and fabric.
    According to Goldys, the whole evening was designed to promote the special curriculum areas such as art, music and physical education.
    “The arts — the special areas — are all important  to the child’s growth,” Goldys explained.
    She added, “There are so many experiences with academics, the left brain, but you need right brain experiences as well to be well-balanced.”