Starting additional conversations in the community and promoting further collaboration between Washington State University’s College of Education and Pullman Public Schools is the idea behind the Learning and Performance Research Center’s (LPRC) family events at Sunnyside Elementary School.

For three years, the school has opened its doors for WSU students to collaborate not only with their students, but also with the parents.

“These types of events give parents an opportunity to be involved in their student’s learning,” said Kira Carbonneau, an assistant professor of educational psychology. “It also allows the faculty and graduate students to have a place to explore their educational theories in a real-world environment.”

Recently, the elementary school hosted a STEM focused family event. They had several stations setup for students and parents to engage in together. They had everything from computer programming to engineering topics.

“Having these events strengthens the bond between home and school, improves school related behaviors, impacts academic achievement, and ultimately increases self-esteem,” said Pam Brantner, the Principal at Sunnyside Elementary.

It first began as a way to give back to the community while also testing education research theories within the school. It then grew to become an annual event with attendance continuously growing, Carbonneau said.

As these events continue, they hope to expand to other schools as well as offer more events such as community walks.

“The idea, again, is to provide avenues for families to engage with each other as well as with schools in an informal way,” Carbonneau said.

The next family event will be at Sunnyside Elementary School in March. The focus for the spring event will be on coming together as a family to explore and find solutions to set challenges.

More photos from the event can be seen on Flickr.