Scenes from International Fest!

This year’s International Festival was one of our best yet, even with the snow delay! To celebrate our 5th year of hosting this awesome event for the wider community, we welcomed “ambassadors” from 12 countries plus Puerto Rico! As always, one of the highlights was the many tasty foods our volunteers prepared for visitors to sample — organizer Gosia Tedawes named the Mexican hibiscus drink a favorite. Countries also offered crafts, personal photos, fascinating pieces of art and instruments, and much more. Students got their passports stamped as they walked around the room, and many also participated in a trivia scavenger hunt to find out more about the countries represented.

Diverse music filled the Big Gym throughout the festival, but two very special live performances were favorite moments for many attendees: Mrs. Weiss led the kindergarten and 1st grade classes in singing a medley of international songs, which got the younger kids in the audience moving; and a string duet from Maya Tedawes and Mia Callot got rave reviews for its precision and beauty. Thank you to our performers and Mrs. Weiss for bringing their talents to share with our International Festival attendees!

We are so grateful to our volunteers and RES students, who took so much of their time to put together this event! Special thanks to our outgoing chairs, Lisa Goldstein and Gosia Tedawes, who have both been involved with the event since its first year!

You can also read more about the International Festival on our RES PTA Facebook page, which links to some news coverage and even includes a recipe at the request of some attendees! (If there are other recipes you’d love to have from this year’s festival, let us know and we can ask the volunteers to share!) Like our page to get regular updates on our activities!

Would you like to get involved with the RES PTA’s International Festival next year? We are already planning ahead, so drop us a line to join the fun!


Coming Attractions: Imagine a World Is THIS WEEKEND!

This Saturday from 1-4pm, the RES PTA is hosting one of our most exciting events — Imagine a World, a celebration of the arts and sciences. This year’s theme is “Senses,” and attendees will be able to travel through interactive stations, in both art and science, to learn about how we experience the world!

It got us thinking about the connection between the arts and sciences. Many of us may remember them being taught separately in our youth, and maybe even might think of them as “opposites.” But education experts now see that they truly are integral to each other, and that teaching kids to think about both helps spur creativity and encourage achievement. These experts cite examples like Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps the western world’s earliest and most iconic engineer, to show how truly revolutionary thinking must encompass principles of both arts and sciences. While it seems obvious that our world desperately needs innovators in science and engineering to work on urgent issues of global climate change, food shortages and alternative energies, what is becoming clear is that artistic education will help drive that innovation, as well as prepare our scientists and engineers for public life, and universities and employers are already recognizing this imperative.

Hope to see you and your RES innovators at Imagine a World this weekend to reinforce the great scientific and artistic education they’re already getting from our amazing RES teachers!

STEM Power: Let’s Get Experimental!

This year’s Imagine a World Art & Science event is coming soon — JANUARY 27 — and the deadline to register for our new STEM Fair will be January 22. This is a great opportunity to engage your RES student in hands-on learning in the worlds of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

The benefits of doing hands-on STEM work have been documented, but one of the main upsides is that it sparks the love of learning. It’s important to also note that STEM work doesn’t preclude creativity or undermine the importance of the arts — it’s an interdisciplinary model of learning that serves students with all interests well, and it’s the reason our STEM Fair and our Arts programs work together so well in Imagine a World.

As for the nitty gritty: the theme for this year’s Imagine a World is SENSES. This broad theme might help students frame ideas to explore. Kids can choose to develop a project on their own or with friends, and the fair itself is non-competitive, so kids can be free to take risks and work independently. Some ideas for a starting point for your creative explorer can be found here — there’s even a quiz about special interests that might jump start your RES student’s mind!

Does that sound overwhelming? On January 9 (so, TOMORROW, Tuesday), STEM Fair volunteers will be meeting with kids (and parents) after school until 4:30 to help figure out some great ideas! A computer, books and experts will be there to help refine ideas. See you there! (If you plan to have your RES student stay on after school, be sure to update School Dismissal Manager!)

From Your PTA: Shakesperience Comes to RES!

Today RES kids had the chance to check out Shakesperience‘s performance of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” This production is a bit short of an hour and is targeted towards elementary school-aged children. It includes a review of words that might be unfamiliar before they get started. Using theater to tell the story is a great teaching tool, as well as a meaningful cultural experience. Additionally, interest in theater can encourage empathy, no small benefit in a world where we all could use a little more. You can read a review of a recent production they did at another Connecticut school here.

If you haven’t read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe since your own childhood, here’s a great plot summary to help you when talking to your RES student. You might want to also check out this discussion guide, which is intended for teachers but could give you some good questions (especially for your older RES students). Asking open-ended questions about the show will hopefully spark some wonderful discussions around the dinner tables of Redding tonight!

Did your RES student love seeing live theater? Here are some tips for choosing your next show to see together!

And thank you to all our RES PTA members and those supporting our fundraisers — without you, we couldn’t provide this awesome experience for our RES students. We appreciate you!