Averett Students Read Fairy Tales to Preschoolers

Posted on November 22nd, 2016 by Danielle Staub

30921035831_2daa8ca5cc_zAverett University students recently spent a day reading to children at the Head Start program in Danville.

Dr. Catherine Clark’s Literature for Children and Adolescents class spent the semester discussing topics related to the history and concept of childhood, censorship, literary genres and the power of fairy tales. Part of the final research assignment required students to rewrite an original fairy tale.

Clark says she was looking to add a service-learning component to her class. She reached out to the Danville branch of the federally funded preschool program, Head Start, which resulted in an invaluable partnership for both.

“We see our partnership with Averett as one that gives each child an outlook on the future and as one that allows both Head Start and Averett to grow using each other’s expertise and commitment to the community,”  said Jion Word, education manager at Head Start.

“My students were more than invested in this — every single student showed up prepared and excited to the classes at Head Start,” said Clark, assistant professor of French and English.

Throughout the semester, Averett students visited the Head Start classroom to which they would later read their fairy tale. During those visits, the college students were able to get suggestions and feedback from the kids and their teachers.

“We at Head Start feel that the younger students develop a bond and ‘looked’ to the older students to serve as role models for them,” Word said. “Each time the Averett students visited the classrooms, the attention and focus of our students went to them. The Averett students were also able to educate the students at Head Start about college and the importance of education.”

Head Start Pic 2Word says the college students were able to capture the attention and the imagination of the children.

“We concentrate on language and literacy development and the Averett students were able to reinforce language and literacy development through their use of vocabulary, repetition and extension, and advanced language,” he said.

Clark says she can see the importance of service-learning. She hopes to collect student feedback and revise the class as necessary to hopefully continue this program each year.

“While this experience obviously benefits education majors, other Averett students seemed to enjoy the creative writing,” she said. “Students also needed to consider how to reconcile their academic readings with children who are mostly minority and low-income. This is invaluable practical application.”