The Importance of Exposing Our Children to the World
08/21/2015 02:30PM ● Published by Aubray Onderik
By: Dr. Shanessa Fenner
I have learned that you cannot outrun reality or think there is a level playing field in life. It is what it is. During my first year of teaching I found out things the hard way. I had students in my classroom that had never been to a restaurant or out of the city of Durham. It hurt and constantly played on my mind, so of course, our very first field trip was to a restaurant. Today, it continues to play on my mind because it is still very much a reality that tugs at my heart strings. In my perfect world, I would ensure that all students received the exposure that is key. Exposure is something that all students need, but unfortunately some students do not get the exposure that is needed. Some students will visit Hawaii or spend weekends at the beach, attend various camp programs and dine in the finest restaurants while other students cannot afford that luxury and even a trip to a local fast food restaurant is a hardship.
Here are some ways to make sure your child can get some of the meaningful exposure that is needed:
1. Visit the local library and sign up for a free library card. Libraries are a treasure chest of books, maps, magazines, music and movies. Libraries also have storytelling events and other fun, free activities planned for children. Your child should read every night for at least 30 minutes.
2. Read the local newspaper to find local events and concerts that are free and open to the public.
3. Places like museums, cultural festivals, historical sites, fairs, the planetarium, zoo, aquarium, ice and roller skating, concerts and movie theaters are great places for your child to learn and have fun.
4. Research and find credible mentoring programs such as Fayetteville Urban Ministry’s free “Find A Friend” program. The student has to be referred by the school, agency or parent.
5. Talk with your child and stress the importance of a quality education even if your experiences in school were not positive. Children need to know that education is the foundation to living a better lifestyle and breaking the cycle of poverty.
6. Call local churches and area recreation centers to see if they have free programs and activities for students.
7. Check the school to see if there is information about free camps or after school programs that students can attend.
8. For students in grades 9-12, Upward Bound Programs are offered for disadvantaged students at some colleges or universities. There is no cost to participate. The students attend plays, musical productions, and visit historical and cultural sites. There is also exposure to a variety of colleges and universities.
9. Try to expose your child to as many things as possible such as fishing, swimming at the local pool, boating, nature walks, pottery, camping, painting and other activities. This investment leads to great rewards.
So start today by ensuring that your child is exposed to a myriad of meaningful learning opportunities that will shape them into becoming a well-rounded individual.
Dr. Fenner is the principal of William T. Brown Elementary School in Spring Lake.