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Project DIVE looking to continue, incorporate feedback

by Anna Campbell | May 17, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.
Sebastian Minor, left, and Tajhae Trusty do push-ups in this Dec. 7, 2021, photo at the Show Me Child Care Center in Jefferson City. The two felt like they needed to get out some energy after sitting through their Project DIVE class. Participating organizations requested more opportunities for movement in their feedback on the lessons for 2022. (Ethan Weston/News Tribune photo)

Participating organizations offered positive feedback and ways to improve Project DIVE that organizers hope to include moving forward after this year's lessons.

Project DIVE is a literacy-based diversity program that stands for Different, Interesting, Variety and Everyone. It began through a partnership between the Jefferson City Arts Foundation and the Human Relations Commission and was piloted in 20 Jefferson City preschools.

Project DIVE consists of a packet including four weeks of half-hour lessons discussing the four concepts, along with activities and letters to parents explaining what their child learned and how they can follow up on it at home.

This past year, 50 packets were distributed to nine organizations through a grant partnership with the Breakfast and Evening Rotary Clubs.

Jane Barnes, a member of the Human Relations Commission who's been helping oversee Project DIVE, said she had received a smattering of feedback from some of those organizations. A few of the nine organizations have not yet implemented the program but are saving it for the summer.

While the responses are by no means exhaustive, Barnes said they're helpful.

"Obviously you don't get 100 percent accuracy or completion on things like that whenever it's on a volunteer basis of completing it," she said.

"Mostly it was open-ended questions looking for anecdotal-type feedback for, what are some ways to improve this? What are some ways to make this easier for teachers to use and implement? What are some ways to reach more people?" she said.

Some of the advice the project received included incorporating more movement, altering some of the crafts, adding certain books and other media to the packet, and tailoring the subject matter specifically to younger children.

"We kind of say pre-K through second grade, which is a wide variety of ages, skills and abilities," Barnes said. "So some of these activities are more catered to kids who are familiar with more table-based activities."

Barnes said the team made a lot of changes after the pilot program, including changes to the lessons, resource offerings, and the addition of letters to parents and teachers.

She said recent feedback would be considered and implemented if appropriate, but it would wait until new orders came in.

"Every time that we have the opportunity to distribute packets, we're basically starting from scratch with purchasing the books from Scholastic, purchasing crayons, and then doing bulk printing again," she said.

She added that Project DIVE is always open to thoughtful edits.

"I think going forward, when and if there is an opportunity for us to create additional packets to distribute, certainly before printing, we will go over all of the feedback that we have received, kind of say, 'Okay, are these books that we should add to our list, are these ideas that we're going to fold into these lessons, or into these suggestions for the teachers, somehow?'" she said.

If a group or organization shows interest in purchasing more packets or if there is another grant provided to cover the cost of packets, Barnes said that would be the time to take a look at incorporating edits.

The price is $50 a packet, and people interested in purchasing packets and participants interested in providing feedback should contact [email protected]

Print Headline: Project DIVE looking to continue, incorporate feedback

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