Imagine being a child and having the opportunity to be loud in a library, visit your favorite museum after school, be a veterinarian, and play in slime! Then, imagine doing all these activities with your parents and family members for FREE over the course of 10 days!
This was the incredible reality for children and families throughout Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties from April 21-30, 2023. Suncoast Remake Learning Days (SRLD), presented by the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (SCGLR) with support from The Patterson Foundation (TPF), consisted of over 200 events with more than 25,000 individuals participating.
The first Remake Learning Days festival was established in 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA, by the Remake Learning network, with support from The Grable Foundation. Since then, Remake Learning Days has taken root in 16 regions across the United States, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. The Suncoast region produced the first Suncoast Remake Learning Days Festival in 2022. The robust engagement of partner organizations across Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota made the 2023 Suncoast Remake Learning Days Festival the largest in the world.
SRLD wasn’t just full of free and fun events. SRLD fostered wide participation and encouraged learning across generations, relationships, and community partnerships -- all focused on the mutual aspiration to ensure learning happens everywhere.
From the first day to the last, there were opportunities for parents/caregivers and children to build with one another.
Fizz Boom Science Fest at the Sarasota Housing Authority hosted many collaborative community partners at their Friday afternoon event. Digging in the soil, playing with slime, and creating crafts were all a hit for children and their families. One partner organization provided materials to build a rollercoaster as part of learning about civil engineering. Children and families of all ages took to the floor and constructed a masking tape and cardboard structure to roll a ball from top to bottom. The creativity was astounding, but the intergenerational collaboration was even better.
Group outings were common at SRLD events.
Organizations with after-school programs took to the roads to attend events with student groups. Loud at the Library with Embracing Our Differences and the Betty J. Johnson Library hosted various activities thanks to partner groups. Housing authorities and other after-school programs attended, making it a robust opportunity for further connection and learning with mentors and instructors. Who wouldn’t want the chance to be loud at the library just once!?
Virtual events allowed everyone to participate.
This year, virtual events made a splash by being offered in multiple languages, through different formats, and with interactive capabilities. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium provided an opportunity to say goodnight to sea creatures through a Zoom webinar. Children and families could play along with bingo, answer trivia questions, and virtually join an aquarium tour. This was fun for every age, including myself!
Children and their families shared new experiences.
The Big Literacy Event hosted at STC offered new experiences to many. Rachel Ploss and I had the opportunity to interview children and their families using TPF’s Beyond the Blog podcast equipment. Yes, it travels! We shared information about the sound levels, the power of stories, and even captured content from our star guests! Join the Journey, Beyond The Blog, to ensure you’re one of the first to hear.
Attendees connected with their community.
On Saturday, April 29, Desoto County hosted six events ranging in activity and learning theme but boosted a sense of community pride and connectivity. Buses were available at no cost to all six SRLD events within several miles of one another. Families created together, solved puzzles together, and learned more about the history of Desoto County. It was a full day of learning in Arcadia!
With 10 days and more than 200 events, hands-on learning experiences were happening everywhere for families, student groups, professionals, and community members. As a Fellow with TPF who has been working on SRLD since the start of my fellowship, I am moved by the amount of joy and heart poured into SRLD 2023.
TPF focuses on strengthening people, organizations, and communities. SRLD is an example of a community movement that does this and more by fostering spaces for connection, collaboration, and creation. Thank you to TPFers, event hosts, partner organizations, and families who ensured learning happened together.