WSC education students volunteer at Head Start

Students work with preschoolers as part of a Service-Learning project

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Derek Pufahl, Staff Writer

The coursework which college students undertake and the “schoolwork” which three-to-five-year-old preschoolers do generally don’t seem to have much overlap.

Unless, of course, you’re an early childhood education major.

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, Wayne State College students and preschoolers from Wayne’s Goldenrod Hills Head Start were able to learn and work together with fun autumn activities during a service learning project.

In Dr. Pam Langlie-Willers’ FCS 120 course (Intro to Early Childhood Education), students prepared material for the preschoolers and were then given the opportunity to put that material into practice.

“It really allows students to get an idea of what working in early childhood education is like,” Langlie said.

Langlie’s class is composed of about 40 students. They were split into groups of 20 and the first half worked with the preschoolers at Goldenrod Hills on the morning of Oct. 29, while the second half worked with the children again on Nov. 5.

The students were placed into four groups, who then worked with a group of preschoolers doing their preplanned activities. One group made scarecrows, another collected leaves and another group delved into a “pumpkin exploration” using the five senses: touching, smelling and tasting the pumpkin.

Kristy Jensen has been working as a preschool teacher with Goldenrod Hills for three years and coordinated with Langlie to put the service learning project together.

Jensen says that having new people in the classroom helping out is great for the preschoolers.

“The college students always come with a lot of great ideas for activities,” she said. “We really enjoy our relationship with the college.”

Head Start is a federally funded program that began in 1965. It is designed to help prepare low-income children and their families for school and give them a “head start” in breaking the cycle of poverty. Goldenrod Hills also helps to educate parents about nutrition, budgeting and activities they can do with their children.

Freshman Jocelyn Kuncl is an early childhood education major from Langlie’s class and says that she really enjoyed working with the preschoolers.

Her group helped children with colors, shapes and learning common words in both English and Spanish. They also helped with improving fine motor skills using sewing cards. The preschoolers pulled strings of yarn through holes in the sewing cards connecting them to form images.

“It was a good experience,” Kuncl said. “It’s great that the community lets us get involved as students.”