Human Development and Family Sciences Students Help Parents Interact With Their Children

Human development and family sciences students held family fairs with parents and children at three local elementary schools.

Human development and family sciences students held family fairs with parents and children at three local elementary schools.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – U of A students from the School of Human Environmental Sciences recently connected with families in Fayetteville Public Schools to help parents better interact with their children.

Students in the Parenting and Family Dynamics class, which is part of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Science's curriculum for the human development and family sciences concentration, conducted family fairs at several area schools.

Instructor Donia Timby and special topics student Paloma Dickey coordinated the events, which drew more than 70 family members with students in pre-school programs at Leverett Elementary, Butterfield Trail Elementary and Owl Creek School.

"I was very pleased with the events and hope to continue to connect our HDFS students to Fayetteville families," said Timby. "It was rewarding to see the students take the skills and knowledge learned in the classroom to the community."

Parenting and Family Dynamics students interacted with parents and pre-school students, gaining field experience while creating fun and educational moments for the families.

"If I could describe my parenting fair experience in one word, it would be humbling," said human development and family sciences major Ally Tibbitts. "Through my three years at the U of A, I have learned about the needs of a child and best practices for a child's development. However, to actually see this in a hands-on experience was absolutely eye-opening. We got the chance to actually cater to the needs that have been lectured on class after class. We got to see the look on the child's face when they shook their new sensory bottle or saw the picture they took in the photo booth. We also got to see the look on the parent's face when they saw how much their child was learning in a short two hour. The three weeks of parenting fairs showed me making a difference can be done in our own backyard of Fayetteville."

 "This opportunity was one that I will remember for a long time," said Anna Vest, a communication disorders major who is minoring in human development and family sciences. "It was enjoyable and had a lasting impact. My group was in charge of playing games and reading iSpy books with the children, and it ended up being more of a hit than we expected. The parents also participated, which was neat to watch how children interact with their parents, siblings and each other."

U of A students helped family members create sensory bottles and plant flowers to take home. They also posted informational boards and distributed flyers to parents. The boards emphasized how parents impact their child's social, emotional, cognitive and language development through play time and everyday life.

"As a human development and family sciences major, the parenting event is a fun way to reach out and share knowledge with families and empower them to participate in their child's educational experiences in a developmentally appropriate way," said Adena Sherry, who is in the birth through kindergarden concentration.

"I was really able to apply what I learned in class to this experience as families came to the parenting event from different backgrounds and cultures," said Vest. "I loved getting to see how each family interacted. Each family is unique and has its own customs and beliefs. Giving back to the community through the parenting event was a wonderful opportunity that I greatly appreciate and value."

About the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences: Bumpers College provides life-changing opportunities to position and prepare graduates who will be leaders in the businesses associated with foods, family, the environment, agriculture, sustainability and human quality of life; and who will be first-choice candidates of employers looking for leaders, innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs. The college is named for Dale Bumpers, former Arkansas governor and longtime U.S. senator who made the state prominent in national and international agriculture. For more information about Bumpers College, visit our website, and follow us on Twitter at @BumpersCollege and Instagram at BumpersCollege.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Robby Edwards, director of communications
Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences


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