Ohio University Regional Higher Education hosts early childhood and elementary education festival
Ohio University regional campus Early Childhood and Elementary Education sophomores attended the Patton College Education Festival on Friday, September 23, at OHIO Lancaster. Education students from all five regional campus locations participated in team building activities designed to build relationships and elicit more engagement in future virtual courses.
"The goal of the event was to gather all the new education majors among shared campuses and under the One OHIO vision to get to know each other through a fun and playful event,” Debra Dunning, Associate Professor of Instruction said. “The concept of play is often lost in online virtual classrooms, and we wanted them to experience the joy of playing and learning. We are hoping this community building transfers to the virtual classroom and we see more faces and participation in our classes."
All students in attendance are enrolled in teacher candidacy and accepted in the Early Childhood and Elementary Education major. As these students progress through the program, they will have more virtual courses shared among the five campuses and faculty.
The Patton College Education Festival provided an opportunity for new majors in Early Childhood and Elementary Education to connect with each other and faculty on each of the campuses, both inside and outside of the classroom, noted Hannah Nissen, OHIO Zanesville, Dean of Campus and Community Relations said.
“We are committed to supporting students as they continue through their academic program, and experiences like Ed Fest are instrumental in building a sense of belonging and creating a climate for success,” Nissen said.
Students were grouped into teams, which was then asked to choose a team name, create a team cheer and design a team poster. Teams then participated in a scavenger hunt and interactive games.
Lexi Piatt, OHIO Eastern Early Childhood and Elementary Education student said her favorite activity was working together with the four other students from other campuses on her team, designing a team poster with their team name.
“It was an overall great experience to meet with other early education students and share our experiences so far in our program,” Piatt said.
The Patton College Early Childhood and Elementary program regional faculty plan to host this event annually and will continue to foster the relationships that were formed at the festival as this group of students transition into their internships next semester. Qualitative data was also gathered at the festival to determine how to gain more engagement and participation in the virtual classroom experience.
“I was so appreciative of our faculty's efforts to create a space for our Early Childhood Elementary Education candidates to connect,” Sara Helfrich, Interim Dean, Gladys W. & David H. Patton College of Education said. “The event on the Lancaster campus helped to build community and show our students that they have a strong support system, both in their faculty and with each other. It was great to see students have a chance to interact, form new friendships, and just have some fun.”