Sidney native creates enrichment bags for elementary students


CEDARVILLE — Throughout the 2021-22 school year, Cedarville University’s School of Education will be offering free take-home enrichment bags to the students at Cedar Cliff Elementary School.

The enrichment bags contain educational materials and activities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). They are designed to help students who need additional exposure to these academic disciplines.

In previous years, Cedarville has partnered with Cedar Cliff to host STEM enrichment events on the university campus. Students have attended five Saturday events throughout the school year planned and taught by Cedarville students.

“Because of COVID, we didn’t host our enrichment days last year, and with the uncertainty of COVID this year, we wanted to be as creative as possible to get students the resources they need,” Dr. Megan Brown, program advisor and assistant professor of education, said.

Under Brown’s guidance, junior primary (P-5) education students Natalie Hepner, from Orlando, Florida, and Katelynn Garber, from Sidney, Ohio, have planned and distributed the first round of enrichment bags, with the next coming in November and the remaining three during the spring semester.

“The first bag had an aviation theme,” Brown explained. “Students received foam airplanes, materials for paper airplanes and suggestions for family field trips.”

To accommodate a variety of ages, each bag also contains a two-page guide to explain what materials and activities suit younger, K-2 students, and which ones are more appropriate for third to fifth graders. Upcoming bag themes include weather, simple machines and explosions.

Once packed, Brown, Hepner and Garber deliver each round of 100 enrichment bags to Cedar Cliff Elementary. Cedar Cliff handles distribution.

“This project has huge benefits for everyone involved,” Brown explained. “The elementary students are receiving that extra push they need in these fields, and the Cedarville students planning them are gaining experience in connecting with families, helping students who need enrichment and STEM – all things that teachers need to know.”

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