The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) Child Study Center took a hands-on approach to its service-learning project last week.
The Child Study Center serves children ages 3-5 and is the only childcare facility in Faulkner County to obtain national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
UCA Child Study Center Director Jamie Dallas said students at the preschool learned the value of daily luxuries and incorporated those privileges into a service project and learning experience.
"It is often mentioned that service minded children become service minded adults," she said. "It has been a great week bringing that phrase to practice."
Boys living at the Seeds Children’s Home in Kitale, Kenya, do not have closets or dressers to store belongings. UCA Child Study Center instructors used a service project to collect and send storage bins to the facility in Kenya as a learning experience for the children.
Dallas said she came up with a song to help teach students to be helpful and incorporated a math lesson in their discussion on how the boys of Seeds Children’s Home keep up with their belongings.
In their discussion on how the boys in Kenya keep up with personal items without having a closet or dresser to store them, the students viewed images of the boys’ rooms at Seeds Children’s Home. Dallas turned the discussion into a math lesson by having the children make a graph depicting where they keep their clothes and determining how many articles could fit in each location, either a closet, dresser or pillowcase.
"The children drew pictures on shipping labels to send to the boys as decorations for their boxes, and they had to estimate how many pieces of clothing would fit in a pillowcase then decide if more things could fit in storage bin or in the pillowcase," Dallas said.
To help the children better understand not having a place to store belongings, Dallas took away their cubby boxes where they normally hang their coats and backpacks and store their lunches for one day. Dallas said the cubby boxes were taken out of the room before the children arrived.
"We moved the cubbies out and the children had to put all of their belongings on the floor," she said. "We discussed them getting dirty, lost or stepped on. We discussed how the boys in Africa have these same feelings about their belongings."
Throughout the week, the students collected $230.17 — enough to purchase seven storage bins to send off to Seeds Children’s Home in Kenya.
"My goal for this project was never to just bring money," Dallas said. "I specifically asked our families to discuss the project with their children and, if the children chose to bring money, allow each child to add it to our collection box."
Dallas said many parents mentioned their child had taken interest in the project.
Because the school year is drawing to an end, Dallas said this would be the last project for the 2015-16 year.
Mashburn Center for Learning Director and Elementary, Literacy and Special Education professor Mark Cooper the department also sponsors Chicks for Children’s Foundation Treasure Chest campaign. The campaign aims to collect 70 storage bins for 70 orphans in the Kipsongo Slum in Kitale, Kenya.
For more information on the Chicks for Children’s Foundation Treasure Chest campaign, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)