Play program offers unique learning opportunities< More Stories
Twenty-three second year ELCC students were divided into two groups to run the free play program, the first offering the program in December. The second group will run a similar program in April.
The thematic decorations are made by hand, toys are carefully inspected to ensure they are safe and appropriate for the age groups who will be playing with them, and everything is put into place to welcome the forty-four children whose parents sign up to participate in the program. Creating a theme, decorating classrooms, organizing nutritious snack menus, implementing important safety and cleanliness protocols and ensuring the program will meet the children’s emotional, physical and social needs is a lot of work and the students work together to create everything they need.
“Teamwork makes a very big difference,” Yurko explains. “It does get stressful, but if we all work together, we can get it done.”
Karamjeet Kaur, another student who participated in the program, agreed, saying, “Everyone’s doing their best and learning to appreciate teamwork. It was harder at first, following the schedule, but we’ve gotten better at scheduling, so it’s easier for us now.”
For their fellow student Mandeep Kaur, the entire experience working in a daycare setting was a new one.
“I’m from India,” Mandeep says. “I didn’t go to daycare there. My practicums in this program were my first experiences with daycare and I’m so glad I’m part of this program. Now I know how to run registration, what information we need to give to parents and how to care for the children that come to us. I’ve gotten really good knowledge from Lakeland that will help when I open my own daycare.”
The most important lessons that the students learned, however, came from the children themselves.
“The children are such mighty learners,” says student Shyanne Blomquist. “We watch them and take their lead throughout the program. They plan our whole day. You never know how strong the children are in learning until you’re here. It’s really eye-opening.”