Riverview's family learning night offers something for everyone

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Stella Taylor, 9, a fourth-grade student at Riverview Elementary School in Dayton, gets a hug from Clifford at the school's Family Learning Night on Thursday.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Stella Taylor, 9, a fourth-grade student at Riverview Elementary School in Dayton, gets a hug from Clifford at the school's Family Learning Night on Thursday.

Most of the Lyon County elementary schools have family learning nights in some form or another, but this one was special.

On Thursday night, Riverview Elementary School in Dayton had their first one, with something for everyone.

Parents received instructions on helping their children learn, health tips and participated in a raffle to raise funds for playground equipment. Kids played learning games, made terrariums, bags of ooze (made from green food coloring, water and cornstarch) and even outdid their parents.

That's what Heather Gault, 8, did, beating her mother Angela at a multiplication game of Tic Tac Toe.

"Next time I'll go first," Angela said, and then took her daughter off to the book fair. "We have been itching to get some new books all week."

The book fair was packed, with parents and students rooting through all kinds of books.

Fifth graders Jessica Marvin and Angela Branstetter spent part of the evening looking through the volumes.

While Marvin liked Tinkerbell books, Branstetter said she enjoyed both comic and chapter books, especially "The Black Stallion" by Walter Farley.

"I loved that book," Branstetter said. "I used to read it over and over."

Lindsey Cooper, 10, was at the event with her mom, Jennifer Cooper, and her stepmom, Melanie Snyder.

"This is great, better than the stuff at DES (Dayton Elementary School)," Snyder said as Lindsey picked out a book on puppies and an educational DVD.

"Anything we can do to support the school and show the kids we support the school is important," said Jennifer Cooper.

Riverview opened its doors in September and now has 355 students. More than 100 come to Family Learning Night and brought their parents.

There were tables with all kind of games, including reading, spelling, math and geography games. A table for students studying English as a second language was full of books, as were other tables to help parents teach their preschool children.

The most popular table, was the terrarium table,

Staffed by third-grade teacher Kyla Rice, the students made terrariums using plastic cups, soil and wildflower seeds.

"You take soil and get seeds and cut and tape so air doesn't get in," explained fifth-grader Jessica Miller, showing off her creation.

The teachers were very inventive with their games, making use of file folders, papers, shapes and more to make learning interesting and give parents tips on teaching their kids at home.

"A lot of it are things parents can do with kids," said teacher Linda Peters.

One game, designed to teach manners and good behavior to preschoolers, used pictures of Perfect Pig and Problem Pig. The teacher, Tracy Ewing, then cut out circles that had examples of bad and good manners and behavior written on them, and the children matched them up with the right pig.

"There are things about behavior they don't know," Ewing said. "They don't know how to raise their hands, or understand about personal space."

The children had fun at this event, as third-grader Kristina Mason did Tangrams, an ancient Chinese moving piece puzzle, consisting of seven geometric shapes. Some students romped with Clifford the Big Red Dog and others played games.

Rachel Haggerty's daughter, Ella, spelled all her words correctly and then made a "cootie catcher" - paper folded into squares and manipulated with hands to catch something.

Haggerty said she learned something at the event as well.

"If you read 30 minutes a day for a year, you have spent 7.6 days reading," she said.

Principal Nolan Greenburg has had 14 family nights, previously at Dayton Elementary School.

"It gives us a chance to rub shoulders with parents," he said. "It tells them about our curriculum."

He said it was important to help new parents with teaching their children at home, and was good for parents new to the area.

"It took a lot of effort to get the school going and we're doing very well," he said. "Parents are very supportive of the school."


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