Program at Thomas Elem. disguises learning and teaches students social-emotional skills, teamwork

Jessica Harrington Image
Wednesday, July 10, 2024 1:34AM
Program at Thomas Elem. disguises learning and teaches students social-emotional skills, teamwork
A newly offered summer program at Thomas Elementary School is showcasing the power of teamwork and communication.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A newly offered summer program at Thomas Elementary School is showcasing the power of teamwork and communication.

It takes strategy and problem-solving, but the third, fourth and fifth-grade students who are taking part in the Quest Enrichment program are showing, with teamwork, they can do it.

The students listen intently as they are given a problem to solve in a fantasy world.

Then, they have to choose from their options of what to do next.

It's Ethan Gonzalez's favorite part.

"The most fun about this class is mostly the map where we get to explore and the challenges," Ethan said.

Their decisions come at a cost or earn them a reward.

Students are learning respectful communication techniques, and Ethan says this is better than any previous summer school he's attended.

"Last time, but this, it's like off the charts," Ethan said.

Principal Matthew Phanco says the focus is on social-emotional learning.

With all of these students living through the pandemic, he says many haven't been able to develop their interpersonal communication skills.

"They're used to just texting it out or instant messaging it out. This makes you work with another human being, one on one," Phanco said.

Phanco says this program forces students to do what they do best.

He says disguising learning through play can be valuable and is happy to see students enjoying it.

"If you stop and think about what kids like about video games, it's instant feedback, it's instant gratification. If you do well, you move up a level and that's really what Quest is like. That's why I was excited to bring that to our summer program this year," Phanco said.

With technology changing all the time, we don't know what jobs will look like by the time these students hit the workforce, but Phanco says the skills their learning today will still be beneficial.

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