Free series allows children to ‘explore’ STEM topics

Westfield Athenaeum Children’s Library entrance on Court St. in Westfield. (WNG file photo)

WESTFIELD-For parents who want to inspire their children’s natural curiosity, a unique, free series of workshops for children ages 5 to 8 begins March 16 at the Westfield Athenaeum.

The workshop series titled “Explorology: Family Literacy STEM to STEAM,” facilitated by Enchanted Circle Theater of Holyoke, will also be conducted March 23 and 30, all from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in the activities room of the Boys & Girls Library.

“The series is going to be a fun and interesting way for children to learn about STEM topics,” said Paula Hebert, who serves as grant coordinator for the Westfield Community Partnerships for Children CFCE Grant program. 

Hebert noted that STEM topics that children will explore incorporate science, technology, engineering and math skills.

“Enchanted Circle Theater is really engaging and dynamic in their presentations,” said Hebert, adding, “this literacy program fits into our focus at CFCE.”

Each workshop will center on an age appropriate nonfiction book and related literacy activities that engage students in science education such as theater, storytelling, and other arts integration methods, putting the “Arts” in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM to STEAM). 

Enchanted Circle teaching artist Kate Carreiro is facilitating the three-week program which starts on March 16 with a theme on physics. Children will discover balance, force, and energy transfer with one’s body, as well as create a choreopoem inspired by manipulating objects and solving problems. Also, children will learn about simple machines through pantomime. A book titled “On A Beam of Light” by Jennifer Berne will also be given to all participants which ties into the theme.

On March 23, animal adaptations will be discussed as part of the book series “What If You Had Animal …” by Howard McWilliam. Children will play circle theater games with animal characteristics and movement, create a Connecticut River habitat tableaux, and participate in hands-on bird beak science, as well as receive a copy of the book.

The series concludes on March 30 with a focus on the science of music with the book “The Sound of All Things” by Myron Uhlberg. Children will become a part of a human hearing mechanism, create visual art based on ‘what does this music look like?,’ and examine world instruments to determine how they work. The book by Uhlberg will also be given to participants.

“Parents can register their children for any or all of the workshops and are not locked into the three weeks,” said Hebert.

Registration is available online at > Events > Calendar of Events, or by calling the Boys & Girls Library at (413) 562-6158, ext. 5. Space is limited and registration is required.

For more information on the free series, call the Westfield CFCE office at (413) 568-5242.

The series is supported by a Shurtleff Children’s Services grant and the Westfield CFCE.

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