Five members of Millersville University’s (MU) community have come together to create an online hub of educational resources for Pre-K-12 learners on topics like COVID-19, problem-solving, social-emotional learning and STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). The material is reviewed by educational experts and is available for free at connectionspot.org.
The project is in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “We were hearing from parents and friends about the need for quality resources to support their children — both academically and emotionally,” says Dr. Beth Powers, associate professor of Early, Middle & Exceptional Education at MU. “We also expanded the project to address other ongoing issues such as social justice and racial inequalities.”
In addition to Powers, the group includes Dr. Sharon Brusic, professor of Applied Engineering, Safety & Technology; Dr. Karena Rush, associate professor of psychology; alum Kevin Bower ’03, ’07, also an adjunct professor of Educational Foundations, and alum Lauren McNeely ‘20M.
“Families can be overwhelmed by all of the information shared online, such as how to spend time while at home during quarantine, strategies to support their children’s social-emotional needs, and information about how to have conversations about difficult topics,” says Rush. “Some of them are helpful — but some are not so useful. The Connection Spot team takes the guessing out of the equation for families. “
“We developed the Connection Spot web site that contains high-quality content that is parent, teacher and expert-approved,” says McNeely. “The purpose of their work is to connect with families and engage their children with hands-on, minds-on experiences.”
According to Bower, Connection Spot’s mission is to connect “you to opportunities and resources that are responsive to the academic, social, and emotional needs of your children and learners.”
Subscribers to this free web site receive a link to a new post in their email each Wednesday with one or more new activities or resources posted that week. Families can also search for information, activities and resources by category or age-level. Additionally, there is a topic index to drill down deeper. Numerous topics are currently addressed on the web site such as COVID-19, problem-solving, social-emotional learning and STEM.
“Think of the Connection Spot site as a hub of information for families with children (Pre-K to grade 12). For example, visitors can access and download engaging activities to do with children, seek information about how to support children during crises (i.e., pandemic, racial disparities), locate resources on promoting their preschooler’s science understanding and much more,” says Brusic.
The site was launched publicly on July 22, 2020 and includes other social media connections through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube. You can also text @joinspot to the number (941) 900-3837 to receive text message updates when they post new content.
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