There may be no greater joy than spotting the twinkle in a young child’s eyes when they not only learn, but they have fun doing it.
Methodist’s Education Extravaganza delivered plenty of those priceless moments on Saturday, bringing hundreds of people from the Fayetteville community together in the Hendricks Science Complex parking lot and inside the Nimocks Fitness Center.
“It’s a thrill to have everyone back here after COVID-19 canceled the event the past two years,” said Maryanne Hickson, the Education Department’s administrative assistant and co-organizer of the event. “It’s even more exciting to see our community learn a variety of different subjects all at once.”
There was no shortage of opportunities for education and entertainment at the event with a bounce house, dancing, therapy dogs, police cars, fire trucks, rocks and minerals, building blocks, bugs, dinosaur sets, and much more. In fact, Hickson estimates more than 100 volunteers from nearly 45 different community vendors showed up to the event, ready to captivate the young minds of Fayetteville.
The best part—the Education Extravaganza was free for everyone, which allowed families like the Freers to show up.
“We live just down the road and thought this might be a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. It’s been great,” said Anthony and Emily Freer, who brought their 4, 5, 7-year-old children with them. “They’ve had a chance to learn about terrariums and even sit in a police car for what we hope is the last time!”
The Education Extravaganza even gave MU students a chance to build on their own knowledge. About a dozen students from the Education Department hosted their own booths as part of a class project, which allowed them to gain some one-on-one teaching experience.
Junior Epiphany McGirt’s booth was based on the STEAM-centered illustration book “Boxitects” by Kim Smith. She showed kids how to build their own toy cars out of simple items like cardboard, plastic straws, and pencils.
“Education has always been in my heart” said McGirt, who is majoring in Elementary Education. “I love interacting with kids and showing them new things. I’m extremely passionate about hands-on activities for education because kids should enjoy school while learning.”
Hickson added, “This event also encourages families to follow through with education. There’s so many different opportunities for our children to learn, it’s not just about being in the books. It can help pique their interest in learning and help them consider higher education down the line at a place like Methodist University.”
The Education Extravaganza was organized by the University’s Education Department. For more information about the department, visit here.