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Schools focus on more than just classroom lessons

School activities are so important in a child’s development. From pre-k through senior year, students rely on what their school districts offer to learn, grow and develop. Thankfully, our districts here in the Harlem Valley do their best to make sure that children have a fulfilling academic experience, with a focus on providing many extracurricular opportunities.

Just last week, the North East (Webutuck) Central School District’s PTA hosted Math and Science Night. According to the PTA, the event offered “spectacular science and amazing animals” on Thursday, March 23, throughout Webutuck High School and Eugene Brooks Intermediate School.

What a night! Students had the opportunity to peruse exhibits and partake in demonstrations provided by local organizations and businesses. There were science experiments and displays, hands-on activities and prizes.

It was, in sum, a great chance for students to acquaint themselves with all things science, and to focus — as is so important these days — on Science, Math, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) subjects.

The night was well attended and brought some very curious minds to the Webutuck campus. Math and Science Night is an annual affair for the district, and we hope to see it for years to come.

Meanwhile, the Pine Plains Central School District offered a newer event, the second annual Family Literacy Night, which was also held this year on Thursday, March 23. 

It was held at Cold Spring Early Learning Center, sponsored  by the Pine Plains PTA, for pre-k through sixth-grade students and their parents.

There was a Read Under the Sea activity (perfect for their Kuana Read Beach theme), which transformed the library completely. There was karaoke, a muscle beach obstacle course, beach games, beach treats and discoveries to be made in the sand.

Middle and high school students also got involved, bringing music and volunteer efforts to make the night even more enjoyable.

The event promoted literacy and taught children to associate reading with fun (an objective of which we wholeheartedly approve!). From all appearances, the PTA succeeded in doing exactly that.

The Millbrook Central School District, meanwhile, was also busy this past weekend, with “Seussical,” a lighthearted and entertaining musical production of which the students should all be proud. 

So much work was put into rehearsals, set production, lighting, sound, costumes and the final performance. The production was absolutely impressive and the collective work of all involved should be lauded.

We’d like to stress how much the arts teach our children about self-expression and tapping into one’s emotions. We love that schools provide students the opportunity to stretch their dramatic muscles. It’s so important their creativity be nurtured.

These are but a few examples of what our school districts busy themselves with while educating our children. They’re noteworthy because extracurricular activities enhance the learning experience exponentially — and that’s key to successful teaching.

Kudos to our schools, their staffs, our students and their families for recognizing just how critical such events are, and for supporting continuing efforts to provide a rich educational experience to all students across the board. After all, the students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. Let’s make them as well-rounded as we can.