Mokena resident and Ball State University junior Grace Pieczynski helped Muncie children prepare for kindergarten by creating tailor-made areas for children to listen to books and songs.
In the Ball State immersive learning course,Pieczynski and other Teachers College students partnered with Muncie’s Huffer Memorial Children’s Center to implement listening centers in early childhood classrooms.
In the centers, children learn language and literacy skills by listening to culturally relevant and age appropriate audio recordings.
“Through this project, we are hoping to unite the community and bring them into the classroom,” said Pieczynski, an early childhood education major, said in a news release from Ball State. “Children are impacted by the community and the people in it, so this project is a good way to be joined together in supporting literacy.”
Teams of students were assigned to Huffer classrooms with children ranging in age from infants to preschoolers.
The teams assessed the needs of each classroom and, in collaboration with Huffer teachers and families, developed a plan for the physical layout, technology and interactive materials needed in each center.
Then, each team gathered relevant songs, rhymes, and stories meaningful to the children in each room, and recruited children’s family members and other community members to record the literature on iPads.
Finally, the team constructed and implemented the centers in classrooms.
In spring 2021, Pieczynski will complete her student teaching in Texas and hopes to teach her own kindergarten classroom one day.