Some things are returning to the new normal including the SKIES classes offered at Fort Hood with their STEM class.

Brenda Brown, instructional program specialist with Child and Youth Services said classes started back up in June, and they are glad to be back.

“The commander was wanting things to return to normal, so as we open the daycare centers and the youth centers, he said he wanted other activities available for the kids, and this is something they can do safely,” Brown said.

They have taken extra steps to ensure the children’s safety including regular hand washing, social distancing and wearing masks when social distance can’t be maintained.

“We’re making sure that they’re distancing, we’re making sure that they’re washing their hands, we’re making sure that they’re staying away from people as much as they can, so they can still do their activities … in a safe way,” Brown said.

Instructor Ciera Jackson loves working with kids and loves how engaged they are in the STEM class.

“You can tell they want to be there, so they’re engaged, and I love the way that they think,” Jackson said. “I love giving out direction and letting them kind of do their own thing. I like the intellectual part of the STEM Class. I absolutely love when they come in, and they have different ideas from something I taught.”

Though the kids enjoy being creative and learning new things Jackson believes there’s another element they enjoy the most about the class.

“I think their favorite part is eating whatever edible element we’re using. We did s’mores last week, and we made a solar oven, and they loved the s’mores,” she said.

In this particular class, siblings six-year-old Mia, nine-year-old Austin and ten-year-old Bella Murray were tasked with building the tallest structure they could using only toothpicks and jelly beans.

They all enjoyed being creative and building their structures – Austin particularly enjoyed creating different objects like a crane, a duck and a fan, just to name a few. However, they all agreed that it’s important to be able to participate in classes like this to take a break from technology.

“To get away from the electronics,” Mia said of why it’s important to have classes like the STEM class.

“Just getting out of the house, because people are just staring at the TV all day,” Bella said, agreeing with Mia.

Austin agreed with his sisters and quickly added, “and doing Tik Tok, the worst possible thing.”

Jackson agreed with the kids and thinks classes like the STEM class can be a good break for the kids.

“I think it’s very important to socialize. They are cramped up in the house, and they’re tired of mom or whoever else. I just feel like when they do classes like this, this is a place for them,” she said. “They can be themselves. They can enjoy the class … I think that is very important, and you always need math and science.”

Brown agrees, especially with some kids continuing to learn from home, they can come out to the SKIES classes they love and socialize with their friends in a safe environment.

“I think that it signals a return to normalcy for the kids. Children really thrive on a schedule and they have things that they look forward to, and that’s kind of how they measure their week,” Brown said. “With (them) being in the house and they can’t go anywhere … It just gives them a return to normalcy, where they can go somewhere where they’re used to going, they can see their friends, they can see their teacher, and they get support from another adult.”

The STEM class is offered at 5:15 p.m. Friday at Duncan Elementary. Other classes like karate, ballet and piano are also being offered, but class sizes are limited to 10 people including the teacher.

For more information call 254-287-4592 or visit https://go.usa.gov/xn4rd.