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Grant encourages learning through play

Northview — Students in Katie Shiffer’s developmental kindergarten class at West Oakview Elementary are honing spatial and fine motor skills through play, thanks to a grant from the Northview Education Foundation.

Summer Kirksey gets going on her LEGO castle (courtesy)

Since it arrived the first week in March, up to five students at a time can sit around their classroom’s new LEGO table. And as they appear to be at play — and they are — Shiffer’s 17 students are also learning to think spatially, create and design structures utilizing fine motor skills, and practicing perseverance while following unique directions at times.

Shiffer said the table, chairs and tiny blocks and other shapes allow her students to demonstrate many fundamental and foundational skills of early childhood, including creativity and problem-solving, as they build a sense of community and collaboration with their classmates.

“I have seen cities being built, skyscrapers and even replica buildings they may see in … Grand Rapids,” Shiffer said. “The creativity has been endless.”

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio


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