Meriden’s Family Zone wraps up summer enrichment program

Meriden’s Family Zone wraps up summer enrichment program


MERIDEN — When asked about what she learned over the past three weeks while attending the Summer at Sherman enrichment program Cameron Perry, 7, spoke at length.

“I learned a lot about Native Americans,” Cameron said. “Like how Native Americans used to sleep and how they used to live. I learned Native Americans had to garden to eat, they had to hunt to eat. They never wasted any part of an animal.”

Cameron and about 40 other first-through-fifth-grade students living in the Meriden Family Zone area participated in the summer learning experience at Roger Sherman School. The family zone is a Meriden Children First Initiative program that provides support and educational opportunities to families and children in the Miller and Twiss street area. During Summer at Sherman, children participated in science, math and reading enrichment activities in the morning, and fun games and field trips in the afternoon. This year’s curriculum focused on Native Americans.

Thursday concluded the enrichment portion of the program. Children participated in a regular lesson in the morning. Parents and family members came in later to view photos and participate in art projects with their children. On Friday, students were expected to attend the YMCA Mountain Mist Outdoor Center.

“Native Americans was our overarching theme this year,” said Kristin Mastriano, a third grade teacher at Roger Sherman. This was her first year instructing children at the program. “We expose the kids to vocabulary and topics they’re not really familiar with.”

Three days a week students went to Roger Sherman for hands-on learning activities and the other two days were spent at the YMCA Outdoor Center. Students were provided breakfast, lunch and a snack. The group also took four field trips over the course of three weeks to the Peabody Museum in New Haven, the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, the Mohegan Sun Reservation and The Institute For American Indian Studies Museum and Research Center in Washington, Conn.

Mastriano said the group has been great and well behaved.

Around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, after having story and literacy time, parents gathered at the school. They saw pictures of their children playing and learning. On a paper plate families and children were asked to design a Native American shield using certain pictures and designs.

Cameron was working on her shield with her grandmother Marge Papotto.

“I think the program’s great,” Papotto said.

Everyday she asked Cameron what she learned and she was flooded with information. Cameron said Summer at Sherman was the best part of her summer vacation.

Children excitedly chatted about their favorite parts of the program. Brianna Gonzalez, 5, said she liked going to the Peabody Museum and seeing ants carry leaves. She also liked seeing the mummies.

Most of the children said they were excited to go back to school in just a couple of weeks.

“It was wonderful,” Kat Brickel, a fourth grade teacher at Roger Sherman, said about the program. This was her second summer participating in Summer at Sherman. “They really loved it.” (203) 317-2279 Twitter: @KPrimicerioRJ

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