Triangle Learning Days, set for May 17 and 18, offers kids, parents, and caregivers across the Triangle a chance to experience the future of learning through interactive activities and hands-on events.
The two-day festival is part of this year’s slate of Remake Learning Days Across America. The Pittsburgh-founded Remake Learning Days was first established in 2016 to showcase connected learning events that highlighted the future of learning throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania and West Virginia. This year, Remake Learning Days festivals take root in six new regions, including the Triangle.
The festival reflects the Triangle region in the wide variety of experiences it offers festival attendees. Area universities and tech companies will be hosting events, but there will also be activities presented by educational nonprofits, libraries, schools, and even a local farm.
That would be the Hub Farm run by the Durham Public Schools, where kids can learn about ecology, environmental stewardship, and health and nutrition by digging in the dirt. Triangle Days attendees can also check out the full range of activities at the Hub Farm, including canoeing in the pond, beekeeping, a nature hike, and farm yoga.
“All DPS schools have access to the farm,” said Jenna Gant, Education Specialist for Underserved Audiences at Durham’s Museum of Life + Science, which is organizing Triangle Learning Days. “And farmers come to the schools to do hands-on learning.”
While Gant sees the festival as a chance to introduce parents and caregivers to the region’s resources, they want parents who attend festival events to take away the message, “This is another place you can bring your family to have fun and also learn.”
That notion of learning through play has guided Gant’s curating of festival events, along with a desire to make kids and caregivers aware of the resources available to them.
“We have so many universities and museums and really cool spaces that I was excited to make them accessible to folks who might not think of them as learning spaces,” said Gant. “That includes people who might see these places as a higher learning space and might not think they are welcome there.”
The Museum is doing its part to welcome the public in through Engineers Day, which will bring together scientists from across the Triangle to facilitate hands-on activities exploring problem-solving through science and engineering. And North Carolina Central University will be holding pop-up maker labs at various sites across the region, providing access to those in lower-income communities who might not otherwise be able to attend on-campus events.
Making events accessible to those who might lack transportation is a major concern of Gant’s, reflecting a broader emphasis on equity among all RLDAA events, as well as on the part of Remake Learning.
It’s why another event Gant is excited about is Wash and Learn Durham, an ongoing event that brings story time and other fun programming to a local Laundromat with the help of partner Book Harvest, which provides community literacy support in an effort to make children lifelong readers and learners. The organization also offers mobile story times and seeks to reach kids in places like Laundromats and barber shops that aren’t typically thought of as learning spaces.
Events like the Hub Farm visit, the pop-up maker labs, and Wash and Learn Durham also point to another hope Gant has for Triangle Learning Days: fostering connections between organizations and the public that will continue long after the festival ends.
“A lot of outreach is ‘one and done,’” Gant said. “I’m focusing on intentionality and consistency and being able to go back to things.
“I want to incorporate things that have already been happening and will continue to happen,” Gant added. “I’m just encouraging innovation in going into different spaces.”
This blog is part of series highlighting the work of each participating region of Remake Learning Days Across America, led by national co-hosts Remake Learning, PBS Kids and Digital Promise and led locally by the Triangle Network, Museum of Life + Sciences and PBS affiliate UNC-TV Public Media North Carolina. Remake Learning wishes to thank the national sponsors of 2019’s Remake Learning Days Across America: Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Grable Foundation and Schmidt Futures.