The Helen R. Godfrey University Child Learning and Care Center celebrated the Week of the Young Child last week with various events and activities adapted from the national celebration.
The week was established in 1971 and intended to focus public attention on childrens’ and their families’ needs and to recognize early-childhood programs.
The center adapted a few days to accommodate children enrolled at the center.
“We put the learning in children’s hands and teach what they want to learn about,” said Alicia Utke, a teacher of 3-year-olds.
This is part of the center’s Reggio-based teaching strategies, a philosophy targeting children at birth and starting them on a strong educational path, while curbing any discipline issues.
The week kicked off with a parade around campus as part of Music Monday, where children handed out homemade bookmarks.
The center adapted Taco Tuesday into Healthy Habits Day and had the Society of Health, Arts, Physical Education and Recreation share a presentation.
“My kids really like SHAPER club’s activities,” Utke said. “They did an excellent job. They set up an obstacle course and altered their obstacle course for each age group.”
The club also played with fake food to teach children which food should be a part of their healthy habits.
“They showed using different toy foods and explained which foods should be ‘sometimes food’ and which should be ‘always food,’” said 4- year-old teacher Karissa Camacho.
The children were equally excited to work with the track and field coaches the following day for Work Together Day.
“They were running like crazy,” said student teacher Brittany Rabe. “When we got there, they were so excited they did a lap just for fun.”
The children worked on sprinting, relays and different types of jumps, including long and triple jump.
“Some of the kids would just plop, but some of them did a really good job and got their legs out there for a good jump,” Camacho said.
On Artsy Thursday, parents and family were invited to an art show of the children’s work and participate in a potluck dinner.
Every child enrolled at the center had artwork on display.
“Some of the younger ones did hand painting, and some older ones gathered pieces for sculptures they made,” said Becky Helf, center director.
“They were very excited for the art show and potluck all week,” Camacho said. “One little boy kept saying all he wanted was the potluck to be right now and that he wanted his mom to see his art.”
Kari Stetler, infant and toddler teacher, has been working for the center for 16 years and said this is the first art show they have had.
The children worked on a collaborative piece that started with colored pencils and eventually incorporated paint. It was on display at the show but is unfinished.
Stetler said students also did finger painting.
“It appealed to their sense of touch,” Stetler said. “They were really interested in feeling the paint and touching the fabric.”
The week came to a close with Family Friday, where children went to the football field to blow bubbles and fly kites.
“It was sort of a culmination of the week, and we celebrated it with our Pointer family,” Helf said.