As part of their mission to help families work together and have commonality and time together, officials from Petal Primary School are gearing up to host Step Into STEM Nights to ensure a solid setting in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at the school level.
The hands-on events will take place during three nights in February, depending on grade.
“(We want to ensure our kids) have a good base in STEM, and that (parents) understand what their kids are learning in our school,” primary school assistant principal Jana Perry said. “We’re trying to connect it to the workforce, even at this age – Pre-K through second grade.
“STEM skills are incredibly important as we go through K through 12, just because that’s what the job force is going to be asking for. We already have something like 45,000 jobs that are going to be unfilled because of the lack of skill, so I think we have to start young, and those hands-on experiences are what engage kids and families.”
Step Into STEM Nights will be hosted at the following times at the Petal Primary School campus, 60 Herrington Road in Petal:
- Second grade: From 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 1;
- First grade: From 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 8; and
- Pre-K and kindergarten: From 5:30-7 p.m. Feb.15.
“(Families) can expect to pull up their sleeves and have lots of fun work engaging in experiments,” Perry said. “We have things like a parachute party, where they have to figure out how to make a parachute that will float down in slow motion and carry the items it’s supposed to carry all the way to the ground safely.
“We actually even have some canister rockets that we’re doing this year; we’ll do those outside, because if you do it right, they really go pretty far in the sky. (Students) will figure out what the vinegar and baking soda solution is that you have to do in order to make the rocket go the furthest. It’s just really fun, engaging things for families to do, and you kind of watch the students’ faces, and they just light up because they didn’t know they could do those things.”
Petal Primary School has hosted Step Into STEM Nights for about four years, although the COVID-19 pandemic forced the event to be a virtual “homework edition” in 2020. During that time, teachers sent supplies home for students, who posted the progress of their activities online.
“We could see our kids doing things at home with their family,” Perry said. “(Past events have been received) very, very well – parents love to come on campus.
“The first year we did it, we had well over a thousand people show up, and we’re growing from there. We’ve had great response from our patrons as well; we actually invite businesses that are STEM-based to do hands-on experiences that night as well. It’s just a really good evening, and kids get to see all the possibilities and fun that science, technology, engineering and math can bring.”
In addition, Chick-fil-A will be on campus outside the primary school cafeteria for each event from 5-7 p.m., with food available for purchase. Families may dine in the cafeteria before beginning the activities or order food to take home after the event.
Participants are asked to park in front of the school and enter through the front doors. Masks are encouraged when social distancing is not possible.
For more information, call the primary school at (601) 554-7244.
“We send out information about the event, and any parent can bring their child to those events,” Perry said. “There’s no registration; they just have to be connected to one of those organizations, whether it be us as a school or the daycares that we’ve invited.
“It’s really pretty open, as long as you have some connection to those organizations and schools. Each night has some similarities, and then they also have some differences because of the age group we’re trying to serve those evenings.”