Foundation promotes educational opportunities with 'Minds in Motion'

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Mon., Nov. 14, 2011
Chris counts how many drops of water he could add to the face of a penny before it spills over.
Chris counts how many drops of water he could add to the face of a penny before it spills over.

Even though it was the weekend, the classrooms at Jack Jackter Intermediate School were still being put to good use on Saturday, Nov. 12, as the Colchester Learning Foundation hosted “Minds in Motion,” a series of fast-paced, hands-on workshops geared towards children between kindergarten and eighth grade. Held in conjunction with the Connecticut Association for the Gifted, the workshops included topics like “The Science of Magic,” “Odyssey of the Minds” and “Life of a Pond.”

With a dozen options to choose from, “any kid will find a workshop here that’s suitable for them,” said foundation director Monica Swyden-Bolles. About 70 kids had signed up for the event, she said. In addition, there were several workshops for parents as well, covering topics ranging from working with high achievers to saving money for college.

Dr. Nancy Heilbronner, from the Education Department at Western Connecticut State University, presented the keynote address on nurturing a child’s talent. Saying that careers in the 21st century will require more than knowledge and information, Heilbronner stressed the need to foster creativity in children, allowing them to more easily make connections between knowledge bases. Cutting the arts, and “all of the things that give us soul,” is a serious mistake, said Heilbronner, adding that creativity scores of American students have been going down since 1990.

But there was certainly no shortage of creativity at the workshops. At the “Human and Puppet Connection” workshop, second- and third-graders learned basic theater skills and worked with different types of puppets, while older kids learned some basic principles of chemistry and physics at “The Science of Magic” workshop.

“We made a primary color by separating colors, and some people say that’s impossible” said Tucker, adding, “That’s science!”

Founded in late 2008, the independent, nonprofit Colchester Learning Foundation is a diverse group of community members sharing a common goal – to support and promote “innovative and creative learning experiences to all residents of Colchester,” said Swyden-Bolles. Events like “Minds in Motion” provide funds which the foundation uses to support programs that enhance educational opportunities. To date, the CLF has given about $12,000 in small grants to various individuals and groups.  

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