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April 15, 2024

Suncoast Remake Learning Days Encourages Family and Community Involvement in Learning

Beth Duda, director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

Editor’s Note: This article is written by Beth Duda and was originally published by the Herald-Tribune.

When we think of learning, often we think of schools. Faced with alarming kindergarten readiness scores and grade-level reading statistics, a common reaction is to come up with an intervention that can be squeezed into an already full school day. Moreover, we tend to overestimate the amount of time a child actually spends in school. A research brief by the National Association of Elementary School Principals in the United States finds that children are in school 33% of the time during a calendar year. We hope children are sleeping for 13 – 15% of that year, leaving more than 50% of their time when they are awake and out of school. In that 50% of time, communities have a tremendous opportunity to work together toward greater outcomes for our children and families.

Learning is not limited to schools; learning exists in all areas of life in multiple locations. In fact, Learning Happens Everywhere. The idea that education is a shared responsibility, certainly involving schools, but also involving individuals, businesses, nonprofits, government, and the media, is a centerpiece of the work of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR). SCGLR is a four-county effort in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties fostering wide community participation to achieve shared aspirations for the success of families and children. Part of a nationwide movement, our region is focused on community solutions and aspirations. We are affirming and celebrating the important relationships between children, parents, caregivers, and community and our collective roles in education by producing Suncoast Remake Learning Days, 2024.

Suncoast Remake Learning Days is a learning festival offering free, family-friendly learning events taking place Saturday, April 20, 2024, through Saturday, May 4, 2024. This four-county initiative, supported by The Patterson Foundation, engages families and community members around innovative learning in multiple locations through hands-on, engaging activities that complement what is taught in schools, welcoming families to learn alongside their children.

In 2016, Remake Learning Days launched in southwestern Pennsylvania, and since that time, it has taken root in communities across the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Uruguay. The Suncoast region was invited to participate in 2022. That first year, there were 150 events across 4 counties in 10 days with more than 10,000 participants. In 2023, there were 204 events across 4 counties in 10 days with more than 25,000 participants. Now, in 2024, we’ve expanded to a 15-day festival with more than 300 events planned across four counties.

Community partners such as schools, museums, libraries, after-school organizations, early child care centers, universities, colleges, places of worship, and parks are the hosts of each of the learning events organized by seven learning themes: Arts, Maker Space, Science, Technology, Outdoor Learning, Youth Voice, and Professional Development. These innovative experiences foster curiosity and creativity, often exposing children and families to new interests or career paths. Suncoast Remake Learning Days has a strong focus on parent and family engagement. When schools, families, and community groups work together to support learning, children tend to do better in school, stay in school longer, and like school more.

A full listing of the 304 events that make up Suncoast Remake Learning Days 2024 can be found by downloading the SRLD2024 App. The app is available for both iPhones and Android phones. An electronic guide of all the events is available at the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s website.

Suncoast Remake Learning Days builds on the assets and strengths of our region, reinforcing the knowledge that Learning Happens Everywhere and affirming that we are working together toward greater outcomes for our children and families.

The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading and Suncoast Remake Learning Days are both made possible with the support of The Patterson Foundation.

About Beth Duda
Beth Duda is the director of the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR). SCGLR is a four-county effort in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties in Florida, fostering wide community participation to achieve shared aspirations for the success of families and children. SCGLR efforts center around school readiness (ages 0-5), summer learning, strengthening attendance, and affirming that learning happens everywhere through strong community, family, and parent engagement opportunities. As the director of SCGLR, Beth works closely with local lead partners—Community Foundation of Sarasota County, United Way Suncoast, and United Way of Charlotte County—to drive progress in the region and produce the Suncoast Remake Learning Days festival.

Twitter: @duda_beth or @suncoastcglr
bduda@thepattersonfoundation.org


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