Teachers and Children Together, Better Prepared to Teach and Learn: The Impact of the 2015 Summer Enrichment Program
Dr. Patricia Griffin
The present study collected anonymous data, using questionnaires, from Hope students and parents of child attendees to the Summer Enrichment Program (SEP). The 2014 and 2015 SEP sessions were funded by a PNC Bank Grow Up Great grant. The 2015 SEP incorporated changes in response to data collected during the 2014 SEP. The 2015 SEP included eight Hope Early Childhood Education (ECE) students. Hope students planned, implemented and assessed developmentally appropriate activities to meet the needs of a diverse group of 3- to 5-year-old children, with the support of the Director of the ECE program. Recruitment for the SEP intentionally targeted children who attend local Head Start and Great Start to Readiness programs, in order to insure diversity and include children who typically would not have educational/enrichment opportunities during the summer. The program benefitted Hope student teachers by providing the opportunity for them to apply what they learned through ECE coursework and the opportunity to participate in a co-investigation with faculty. The program benefitted child attendees and their families by providing opportunities for children to interact with well-qualified educators, experience low student-teacher ratios and participate in developmentally appropriate activities. Questionnaire responses included quantitative data from responses to a Likert scale and qualitative data drawn from responses to follow-up, open-ended questions. Responses from Hope students and parents were overwhelmingly positive. Preliminary qualitative data analysis was focused by question and analyzed across all respondents to identify consistencies and differences. Major themes from Hope student questionnaires included that they benefitted from the real-world experience. Students specifically identified benefits from guiding children, planning lessons, differentiating instruction and interacting with families. Major themes from parent questionnaires included that their children made academic progress in areas including writing, reading, math, language and creative arts. Several parents reported the SEP experience supported their children’s school readiness.
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