During my time at Ball State University, I am required to complete internships within my field of study, Family and Consumer Sciences with concentrations in: Child Development, Child Life and Family Studies. During the summer of 2015, I had the honor to complete my Child Development internship at a local Head Start.
“In January of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared The War on Poverty in his State of the Union speech. Shortly thereafter, Sargent Shriver took the lead in assembling a panel of experts to develop a comprehensive child development program that would help communities meet the needs of disadvantaged preschool children. Head Start has served over 32 million children since 1965, growing from an eight-week demonstration project to include full day/year services and many program options.” (Office of Head Start, 2015)
For five weeks, I prepared children ages 4-5 from low income families to enter Kindergarten. I helped educate children with integral lessons toward their future education (American Sign Language, colors, letters and numbers, etc.). As each child worked on his or her “homework” for the day, I supervised them and aided the child or children whenever they needed it.
During my internship, a four-year-old girl came to the center who was deaf. She had no concept of colors, numbers or basic communication skills. On several occasions, I worked with the girl through American Sign Language and she learned many signs (colors, numbers, yes, no, please, sorry etc.). This was done through several age appropriate activities—playtime and art time.
First, I started out by showing the little girl a red block. I then proceeded to sign the color to the girl. After several times of going over the color, I picked up the same block and had the little girl sign the color to me. This was done for each color: red, blue, yellow, green and orange. Next, I implemented sign language into a fun art activity. Using the same five colors, I proceeded to show the girl each color with the same colored pom poms. Clapping with delight, the child signed the colors and created a lovely work of art. I hung the project within the classroom with the other children’s amazing masterpieces. Even though the little girl was deaf, she was thrilled to finally known her own language (to a certain existent).
Not only could the child communicate with me, but also with the other children as well. On the second day of my internship, I taught the older children their colors in American Sign Language. They caught on quickly and were able to grasp the concept of each color (i.e. red, blue, orange, green and yellow). The children were ecstatic to learn a new language. Being able to connect with the new girl, made the children feel important, and made them feel as though they could contribute something to help aid the new girl into fitting in with little to no stress.
During the duration of my internship, I learned a great deal about the center, the children, the people I worked with and myself. All those children want is positive attention, support and love.
Throughout my internship, I was these children’s light into the world. I was one of the first pieces to the puzzle that will help make up who they are, and who they become as a person. Until next time!