CHADRON – The Week of the Young Child (April 10-16) was especially meaningful for Chadron State College students Bailey Brooks of Douglas, Wyoming, and Brianna Williams of Buffalo, South Dakota. Brooks and Williams planned developmentally-appropriate lessons and activities for children at the CSC Child Development Center as part of their practicum, a capstone-like class in the Early Childhood curriculum.
According to its website, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) established the Week of the Young Child in 1971 to recognize that the years from birth through age 8 form the foundation for success in school and life.
Brooks planned a food experience for Tasty Tuesday. She led discussions about the different tastes of bananas, blueberries, strawberries, and white bread. Williams taught a building lesson with toothpicks, marshmallows, and apples. For Work Together Wednesday, Brooks guided groups of children to work together and take turns while dismantling block structures.
CDC Lead Teacher Keri Ruff said she enjoyed Bailey and Williams providing activities during the Week of the Young Child.
“Anytime you come to work, volunteer, or observe at the CDC, what I really want you to take away from your experience is how important relationships are in a school setting,” Ruff said. “We were able to share what we had done all week with the members of our Facebook page to show the community how important this week is to us and early learning.”
Brooks said Ruff and Center Director Lona Downs have contributed significantly to confirming her career choice.
“They are so helpful and encouraging. They provide insightful feedback and critique my lessons and my instruction. I have enjoyed creating professional relationships with the other CSC students. I am overjoyed when I see the children applying, engaging, and mastering the material that I taught them,” Brooks said.
Brooks recalls a moment when she was working with a child who struggled with fine motor skills.
“I continued to work with this child focusing on taking calming breaths and relaxing. This child overcame the frustrations and applied the breathing strategy and was able to put her shoes on all by herself. I was overjoyed because I was able to help this child focus and learn to combat frustration and then achieve the challenge that she had been struggling with. This made me feel so proud of this young child because I provided her with techniques and skills to overcome,” Brooks said.
Williams also said the moments of triumph when children learn new strategies and techniques are rewarding.
“When children finally understand what you have been teaching them for weeks, it makes you not only feel good but feel like you are helping the child succeed. Being a positive influence in every child’s life is so important,” Williams said. “I knew I was in the right career when I heard children bring up an idea from a lesson that I did about soil where I had Dr. Tony Perlinski come in. The children talked about soil and the things he taught us for weeks. That brought me a lot of joy.”
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