October 27, 2017
Written by Lynn Davies, Program Facilitator / NEDP Lead Instructor
Mercy Learning Center was busier than usual this July! More than 20 mothers and 40 children took advantage of a daily, 3 week Family Literacy Program. Math, reading, writing, English conversation classes and a pilot health career prep class were filled to capacity each morning with Mercy’s mothers, while their children enjoyed learning about electricity, researching how best to match their interests and talents to career pathways in the future and received an introduction to financial literacy, while having fun exploring currencies from around the world.
The children marveled, watching short video clips of professionals in STEM careers explaining the exciting opportunities and academic pathways that led to a passion for their respective jobs. Experimenting with lava lamps, human electron chains, math puzzle challenges, creative building projects, literacy comprehension exercises, theme-based crafts, and technology time, kept the 3-14-year-olds actively engaged each morning.
The structure of the weekly programs affords the mothers time to focus on academics, participate in parenting discussions led by the center’s social service caseworker and observe their children in a learning environment that is stimulating, informative, and fun!
The impact of MLC’s summer Family Literacy Program on the mothers is remarkable- their confidence and ability to concentrate in a more relaxed academic environment are consistently evident each fall in level gains in CASAS scores. Students participating in the summer program show a noticeable improvement in verbal communication skills. Mothers share their parenting challenges in a safe, confidential atmosphere and new friendships are forged. Mothers observe their children interacting with MLC’s staff and other children their age. The consistent daily attendance of over 40 children eager for learning and fun shows the impact of the July Family Literacy Program – giving structure to their day!
MLC’s staff and volunteers create an environment in which children are respected, engaged and challenged to be critical thinkers. The Family Literacy Program impacts the surrounding community by introducing the concept of families learning together. The children were eager for the pizza party marking the end of the July program. They were excited to showcase their newly found knowledge and quiz their mothers on the basics of electricity, career planning, and wise consumerism!