Jessie Russell (second from left), a junior education major from Canton, Ga., and Caladie Duncan (far right), a junior education major from Jasper, Ga., interact with children at Feed My Lambs daycare center.
Reinhardt College students enrolled in EDU 355 - Reading Diagnosis in spring 2010 expected to connect with course materials on reading. What they did not expect were the connections they would make with one another and with their community. Students worked diligently to raise money for the local nonprofit Christian daycare Feed My Lambs. More than $400 was raised as a result of a bake sale, the sale of farm fresh eggs, and a letter writing campaign. The money bought books, food, and supplies for the daycare.
One of the students in the course described her goal for the fund raiser. "We want these students to come to daycare everyday excited about the books on the shelves. We hope we can choose books they will want to read and reread all year long!"
A Special Connection
Students in the course spent two semesters studying effective methods for teaching reading. Their most recent unit focused on helping young children get ready to read, a concept called Phonological Awareness. In addition, students painted a Noah's Ark mural on the wall of the preschool.
Reinhardt has had a special connection with Feed My Lambs for several years. In the past, students raised money to buy books for the classroom library of the Feed My Lambs on Hwy 140. In addition, the College's Student Government Association and College Chaplain The Rev. Leigh Martin gave the building some TLC by painting and assembling a new play area for the children.
Engaging the Children and Themselves
For the last few years, Dr. Julie Schultz, associate professor of middle grades education, and the students enrolled in EDU 355 have visited the Canton daycare for a day of food, fun and reading. Schultz says her goal is to "get my students out of their comfort zones and help them see that they can make a difference right here in their own community. It's great to watch as these young teachers learn to teach reading while they are engaged in a worthwhile project aimed at helping others."
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