Evening of Play
Clemmons parents, kids share games at school

By Danielle Deaver

CLEMMONS -- Dozens of children brought their parents back to school with them Thursday night for Clemmons Elementary's first Playshop, a workshop that let parents, students and teachers play games and solve brain teasers together.
    People formed groups of eight to 10 and rotated through stations with brain teasers, obstacle courses and other games.
    Last week's Playshop was for students in third, fourth and fifth grades. One will be held next month for kindergartners and students in grades 1 and 2.
    The two-hour Playshop was meant to offer parents and kids a time when they could just hang out together and have fun, perhaps improving their relationship at the same time.
    Most of the parents and kids said that it did just that.
    ''That's the object of it, and it seems to be doing that,'' said Pattie Kiser, who attended with her daughter, Chelsea, 8.
    Kiser and Chelsea joined a group of about a half-dozen other people playing ''Life Boats.''
    They started out standing on a long 2-by-4, then stepped onto boards that gradually got smaller and smaller, until they couldn't all stand together anymore and fell off giggling.
    That kind of participation is what school counselor Scott Ertl hoped to see.
    ''It's an appropriate way for teachers, kids and parents to do some fun stuff,'' Ertl said of the Playshop, which he organized. He had done a similar Playshop at his previous school in Durham.
    Bringing teachers, students and their parents together in a fun atmosphere helps them reconnect, he said. Working on projects together helps them remember how to work as a team.

        ''We need everybody to work together. We have some brain teasers where everybody is looking at different clues and you have to come up with the phrase that it means,'' Ertl said.
    Most of the families stuck together at the Playshop, although some of the kids hung out with their friends while their parents sat nearby, chatting in groups.
    Most people sat at cafeteria tables near a long table piled with cookies, cupcakes, fruit and soda.
    They had also brought jokes, which were meant to give the families something to talk about and a way to break the ice. Ertl said he was hoping the families would take the time to share funny stories about themselves.
    ''I like the food, the planes. I like everything,'' said Caroline Mazyk, 7, as she ate the filling of an Oreo cookie.
    Her brother, Edward, 10, agreed that the food was the best part. Hanging out with his parents and friends was fun, too.
    He didn't like one of the activities, though.
   ''I didn't like the hopscotch. It wasn't fun,'' he said.
    Neeta Chatrath's children didn't agree with Edward. Sunana, 10, and Neha, 8, giggled as they threw the beanbag and hopped down the squares in Bosnian Hopscotch.
    ''I'm just happy the kids are playing and jumping,'' Chatrath said. ''It's a good thing.''
    Chatrath said that she was also glad to have a chance to meet some of the other parents.
    ''We're rotating as a group, so we're getting to know each other,'' said Janet Shill, the PTA president. She and her daughter, Sutton, 9, were helping to build a structure out of sticks and clay.
    ''I'm glad to see such a turnout,'' Shill said.
    For more information, you can check out the Playshop website at www.Playshops.com.

Published: October 14, 1999