Chadron State College Family and Consumer Science courses collaborate with the Child Development Center (CDC) to engage students in high impact learning experiences.
Dr. Kim Madsen, applied sciences professor, said the opportunity to actively collaborate allows students to learn how to design appropriate activities for different ages based on ability.
“Students get the opportunity to take that learning to a whole new level where they actually implement their lesson plans with young children of varying age, stage and ability levels,” Madsen said.
The CDC is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and primarily cares for 2 to 5-year-old children during the public school year, according to Lona Downs, CDC director.
Downs said FCS students visit the CDC during their own free time, as well as during class.
Through observation and interaction, Madsen said students have the opportunity to determine the most appropriate options for evaluating and assessing the learning outcomes tailored to the individual learning needs of each child.
“To some degree, teaching involves planning, organizing, implementing and evaluating learning outcomes that must be tailored to support each child and involves risk to try activities and see what works best,” Madsen said
Madsen said students report their observations and reflections by taking anecdotal notes, collecting work samples and completing observation and assessment forms. With permission, students use video, audio and photographs to document and evaluate learning outcomes from each of their lessons and activities.
Madsen said students can benefit from these high impact experiences throughout their years at CSC and in their careers.
The CDC staff and children greatly enjoy when FCS students come into the center for learning experiences, Downs said.
“The children begin to build relationships with the returning students each week and look forward to their next activity or project with the college students,” Downs said.
FCS students often apply for jobs at the CDC after they have seen it firsthand, according to Downs. She said the CDC currently has 13 CSC student employees with various academic majors.
Chelsea Haynes said her experience with the CDC during a human development course impacted her enough to change her major to Early Childhood Education Inclusive.
“Throughout my courses and experience at the CDC, I feel that I have been well-prepared to do my best for each child and family and to help them build a firm foundation to succeed,” Haynes said. “They have helped me find my passion and pursue what I truly enjoy.”