APA's littlest hands dip into aquarium visit

APA's littlest hands dip into aquarium visit

Arendell Parrott Academy Transition students get a literal grasp on ocean science with the visiting touch tank from the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. The students are, from left, Hayes Mulkey, Lawson Stancill, Braxton Mackey, Wade Alphin, Oliver Jewers, Katie Wilson and Anna Huntley Arnette. Submitted photo.

Staff of the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores brought their mobile touch tank and animal friends to Arendell Parrott Academy on April 25. The visit, funded with proceeds from the school’s book fair, allowed elementary students to get up close to a variety of ocean creatures, reptiles and amphibians.

Natalie Sweeley, who teaches a Transition (pre-kindergarten) class, noted her students’ enthusiasm.

Kindergarten teaching assistant Joy Curcio watches her students as volunteer Paige Davis reaches into the touch tank to show students an ocean invertebrate. Submitted photo.

“They were able to see and touch the animals that they were learning about,” she said. “That is very powerful at any age, but for 5-year-olds, it’s a great way to make connections.”

Kindergarten through fifth grade students enjoyed the presentation and touch tank, as did the high school environmental science classes that visited.

Assisting the aquarium’s professional presenters was Kinston resident and APA junior Paige Davis. She works at the aquarium as a year-round junior volunteer and is a member of the Aquarium Teen Ambassador program, so she was ready to guide little hands and share information about invertebrates in the touch tank.

“This is the best day ever,” one happy Transition student blurted out.

In the days after the aquarium show left campus, Sweeley’s Transitioners have brought in their own books about snakes, turtles and ocean animals, and they’ve practiced writing sentences about these new friends.

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