December 12, 2022 -- There’s more to board games than friendly competition and entertainment. Games like Uno, Connect Four, and Dominoes were designed to teach math and literacy skills to players.
“Learning takes place more effectively and efficiently if it can be done in a playful way,” said Sarah Bowman, Family Ambassador at Northtowne Elementary. The school hosted its first game night since before the pandemic.
When approached by Austin Taylor, principal of the school, about the opportunity to host a family game night, Bowman instantly recalled her childhood. Family game nights were a regular occurrence throughout her childhood.
“I remember as a child frequently being the one that kept everyone’s score and your score only counted if it was a multiple of five,” said Bowman.
The Northtowne team is on a mission to bring more families together into the school.
“Our school is a community,” she continued, “Not only of students and their teachers, but it wraps out to encompass the families as well.”
What better way to bring students and families into the school than by hosting a game night.
“Our basic concept for game night was simple. Bring families in, have fun, and show them how playing games has a purpose and can be educationally beneficial,” said Bowman.
Students and families played a variety of games that supported math skills. Games included Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four, Dominoes, High-Ho Cherry-O, Math Dice Jr., Rack-O, Uno, and Yahtzee.
Families were provided with a Games Support Math Skills handout that provided different ways parents can challenge their students’ math skills. The school also offered translated versions as well.
As a Family Ambassador, Bowman encourages parents to engage in their student's learning outside the classroom.
“Start with an idea, see how it goes, then if things need to be modified or tweaked for their situation, feel free to do that,” Bowman said.
She also encourages parents to seek support if they face challenges with their students’ learning at home.
“Find that somebody, whether it’s a family ambassador, a teacher, emailing your principal. Find a way to reach out, get connected,” she said, “Take advantage of the opportunities within your school.”