Education Students Work With Local Children
Students in Peggy Thelen’s “Introduction to Early Childhood” class
are getting an opportunity to work with children in the Alma community.
Four groups of students are working with Gratiot Medical Center, an affiliate of MidMichigan Health, to provide a variety of services. One group is running a babysitting class. Another is recommending age-appropriate furnishings for waiting areas in the current facility and also in the new patient care tower.
“For me, the most worthwhile part of this project has been knowing that people are actually going to benefit,” says freshman Tara Leddy. “This will help me gain an understanding about what goes into designing a classroom and picking out furnishings.”
The other two groups are completing informational brochures. One group is writing for children with family members in the hospital and parents of children who are undergoing procedures. The other is writing about age-appropriate activities for children.
“I feel really good about the project because even if just one parent picks up a brochure and learns something new, it was worthwhile,” says freshman Ashley Arquette. “Early childhood and best practices for young children is something that is not always well known.”
The class includes a service-learning component. In the past students observed different classrooms. But students have classroom components in other classes, and Thelen wanted to do something different.
“I wanted a more comprehensive component, such as how to discover and fill a need in a community,” Thelen says, “but it’s hard for freshmen and sophomores because they haven’t been part of the community long enough. This is a chance for students to advocate for children and families outside the classroom.”
Over the summer she met with Piper Probst, director of education and organizational development at Gratiot Medical Center. Probst brought the idea to the Medical Center’s leadership team to brainstorm what projects they thought would be useful.
The babysitting class was one in which the hospital gets requests, Probst said. The collaboration with Alma College on all of these projects benefits everyone involved.
“These programs enhance services to the community, and that’s who we’re here for,” says Probst.
The babysitting class is Saturday, March 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Alma Public Library. The course costs $15, which includes all materials and lunch.
Students can register by calling Gratiot Medical Center’s Education Department at (989) 466-3208. The class is open to the first 40 registered students, ages 11-16, from the Alma, Ithaca and St. Louis areas.
Posted: Wed, March 5th, 2008 at 9:23AM