Play 2 Learn: Taking home the basics

KCSD’s events for young children attracting families for a night of learning and fun

MERRILL – Four-year-old Kiya Nielsen focused as she grouped and counted colorful plastic bears on a desk in a Merrill Elementary School classroom.

Nearby, 3-year-old Raymond Clark was stacking connecting blocks, building towers.

“He loves learning so he’s really into this,” said Raymond’s mother, Elizabeth Clark, who sat nearby. She also brought her 2-year-old son, Elias, who sat on a colorful rug, moving beads on an abacus.

The Clarks and Nielsens were among about 20 families who attended a Play 2 Learn night at Merrill Elementary School last week, one of several Klamath County School District hosted events offered through May for children ages 3-5 and their families.

The district is about halfway through round one of its third annual grant-funded Play 2 Learn program, which provides instruction on the five Klamath Basics: Maximize love, manage stress; talk, sing, and point; count, group, and compare; explore through movement and play; and read and discuss stories. Afterwards, families receive a free bag of books and learning toys that encourage continued practice of the basics.

Play 2 Learn organizer Brittany Carr, who teaches kindergarten at Stearns Elementary School, introduces families to the five concepts, and activity stations then provide examples and opportunities for parents and their children to experience them.

“Being here tonight and joining us to incorporate the basics is really helping your child,” Carr told the roomful of parents. “Try to find daily opportunities to build in the Klamath Basics. Exploring movement is really about safely allowing your child to test their boundaries, and reading is not just about words on a page, but about the whole experience, letting your child develop a love for books.”

At Merrill, children explored movement by climbing through tunnels, balancing on a beam, and throwing balls to knock down plastic bowling pins. Another room offered colorful blocks and hands-on items to encourage counting and grouping. In a third room, listened to Merrill kindergarten teacher Annette Quinowski read aloud the popular children’s book, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle. The reading included hands-on participation of her young listeners.

Four more round one nights will be offered at KCSD elementary schools – Feb. 27 at Gilchrist, March 3 at Bonanza, March 5 at Keno and March 10 at Chiloquin – and a second round of events will be offered April 2 through May 12.

Click the link for a full schedule and videos and information on the Klamath Basics: