Grandparents recently went back to school.
It was just for an hour Sept. 11 for Grandparents Day at Crothersville Elementary School, but several of them said it was time well spent.
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Each classroom offered a variety of activities. Together, grandparents and grandchildren read books, colored pictures, took pictures, made picture frames, played board games and worked on computers or tablets. They also visited a book fair in the library.
The grandparents were able to see how the classroom environment has changed since they were in school.
“It has taken a big leap and grown, especially with their iPads and technology,” Lonnie Seal said. “It has made it a lot more interesting for the kids, I think.”
Seal’s wife, Cindy, said she noticed several differences.
“When we were in school, if it wasn’t sports, then you were in music, drama and things like that. Now, there’s a lot more for children to be involved in,” Cindy Seal said.
“You didn’t have books (in the classroom) that you could go get and read. You had to go to the library, and that was it,” she said. “Our desks were a lot deeper because we had to keep all of our (school) books in it. In the elementary, you didn’t switch rooms for different teachers. You had the same teacher the whole time. It has changed a lot.”
The Seals, who both went to Crothersville schools, said they enjoyed being interviewed by their grandson, fourth-grader Logen O’Sullivan.
Logen and other students in Rachel Collier’s class had a list of questions to ask their grandparents, including finding out their favorite subject in school, favorite activities growing up and chores they had to do.
“It was funny how some of our interests were the same,” Cindy Seal said.
The event also was fun for the grandparents because some of them got to see a few of their former classmates.
“We were standing out there talking to other grandparents that were our schoolmates,” Cindy Seal said. “It’s like a reunion.”
Josiah Auer also got to interview his grandmother, Meda Dixon. Josiah said he liked learning about her chores and what she wore to school.
“Sometimes, I do the dishes, and she does the dishes, too,” he said.
While Grandparents Day was a way for Dixon to learn more about her grandson, she already knows a lot since he lives with her and she serves as a Foster Grandparent at the school. In that capacity, she spends time in classrooms helping students and teachers with whatever they need.
“I think I’ve been in school for 47 years,” Dixon said, laughing. “I’ve been in school all these years, and I’m still going to school, I’m still learning. You always learn.”
This is Dixon’s third year serving as a Foster Grandparent.
“I was retired, and it gave me something to do besides sit at home and twiddle my thumbs,” she said.
Principal Chris Marshall said Dixon is one of four Foster Grandparents at the school. Three of them each work with one grade, while the fourth one floats around to different grades.
Foster Grandparents work four hours a day five days a week and receive compensation, Marshall said.
“Those grandparents work with the students in helping them keep their work up, helping them with their character developing and assisting the teacher with organization in the classroom,” he said. “They play a big role, so we really encourage any grandparents in our community to come.”
The teachers enjoyed Grandparents Day, too. Kindergarten teacher Ann McCollom had the grandparents and grandchildren make picture frames, work on computers and read books.
“I think that (the grandparents) can kind of understand maybe more what school is like today as opposed to when they came to school because it’s a lot different,” she said. “It’s good to have the interaction … and just to see them read, and to understand how the kids take tests on iPads or computers is neat because they sure didn’t ever do that.”
McCollom said it was neat to watch the grandparents and grandchildren interact.
“I like to see how the kids interact with their grandparents. It tells me a lot about them,” she said.
Marshall walked from classroom to classroom taking pictures and seeing what everyone was doing. He said they have had Grandparents Day all of his eight years at the school.
“It continues to build every year,” he said. “I think this year is the most in numbers that we’ve ever had, so we’re very, very appreciative for their support, and we all know the importance of grandparents.”
Marshall said he has learned about that importance since he has three grandsons.
“Grandparents play a motivating role, a pivotal role in letting kids know they value education,” he said. “When Mom and Dad does and grandparents wrap around, those children are going to be successful in school.”
Marshall said he’s glad to see the school’s tradition of Grandparents Day continue.
“Family is such an important part of children’s lives,” he said. “That’s one thing that we always try to instill in every child that comes to Crothersville Elementary, that this is an extension of your home family. … We want that climate of family, and when our grandparents come in, we’re supporting that thought of family.”
If you are interested in serving as a Foster Grandparent at Crothersville Elementary School, contact Principal Chris Marshall at 812-793-2622.