Lancaster – Work done by Early Childhood Education students three years ago at Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington is still helping young children and their parents in our community today.
In 2009, students in Dr. Quiping Cao's Parent Education class were asked to assist AHA! A Hands-on Adventure, A Children's Museum in Lancaster. The museum is 4000 square foot adventure space that has more than 25 exhibits and activities for children ages 0-7.Children are encouraged to learn as they engage in age-appropriate play. The Lancaster campus students were asked to develop a series of hand-outs, which could be distributed at the museum, to explain ways that parents could continue the education activities at home.
"Dr. Cao brought all of her students here and they each picked a different exhibit," said Kimberly Murray, AHA! Executive Director. "Our objective was we wanted to give parents something to take home and continue the learning experiences."
"Family involvement at school and at home is considered equally important in the education and development of young children. So, one of the goals for the course is to identify community resources and funds of knowledge for families," said Cao. "I believe that it is important for teacher candidates to know community resources available to families as well as to actually participate in creating resources for communities and families when possible."
Both Murray and Cao said the effort was a win-win for students at Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington and families in Lancaster. Nine different flyers were developed by several different groups in the class for use at AHA!. Murray and her team recently started to look at statistics on how many of the flyers have been taken home and found that about 5000 have gone home with parents over the last three years.
“I was amazed,” said Murray. “Five or six of them are taken every single day. I think parents are looking for things to do with their kids at home and the number of flyers taken home from AHA! appears to show that.”
The flyers list several activities you can do at home to teach young children concepts, questions you could ask the children to provoke more thought on the subject and websites where parents can go to get more ideas and information.
"My students were proud to be able to create something for the community that could be used to empower families and enrich the development and education of young children for years," said Cao.