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A Personal Account of Participating in a Community Service Project and Interacting with Elementary School Children

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Our class community service project was something I am very happy I was a part of. I haven’t had many opportunities to be around children in the environment that I hope to one day be working in. I wasn’t completely sure what to expect or how the children would react to someone my age, so going into the project I defiantly had a different mindset then I did after the project. I’ve been around children of all ages, but only a few times have I been around children in the early stages of elementary school, at the actual school setting. Even though this project wasn’t during school and in the classroom, I was still able to see how the children interacted with one another and their teachers. Prior to the project, I remembered when I was in elementary school and we had a little carnival just like the one we worked at.

But of course I was in elementary school then and my view of the atmosphere and what was going then, was completely different then my view when we did this project. Seeing how the children acted at this project helped me get a little idea of how children would act in the classroom. Not necessarily behavior wise, but the overall attitude that children at that age have towards their teachers, elders, and their peers. During the project I noticed that even the smallest piece of candy could put a smile on just about every child’s face. I worked at the Bean Toss station where the children just had to simply make one out of five bean bags make it into a whole for a piece of candy. To most it would seem like nothing, but to these children it was the end of the world if they didn’t make one in. This showed me that even the littlest most simple things interest and be in important to children of this age. This little bit of knowledge I think could be extremely helpful in the classroom setting with being able to make things interesting for this age group so they enjoy learning. I can remember my second grade teacher always turning a lesson into a game.

Whoever got the most questions correct or could complete her worksheets correctly would get just one starburst. This little incentive to doing our work and learning the material not only made us work hard to get the correct answers, but made the whole learning of the lesson fun and interesting. This to me is a great example of how this knowledge can be helpful in the classroom. After working at the carnival and spending time with the children, I realized that interaction with children is very important. Children in elementary school are very young and need much attention. I constantly had to remind the children that were playing the bean toss that even though they missed the first toss, they still had more chances to go. If I hadn’t of said anything and interacted with them, they would have given up after the first try. This automatic feeling of defeat could easily be present in the classroom setting without any interaction between the teacher and the student. I feel like the more you interact with children, the more likely they are to succeed. Everyone, even adults, needs the constant reminder that they can do it.

Children this young especially need this type of positive interaction so that they can learn early on that all you have to do is try your best and never give up. To me, keeping students encouraged with this kind of interaction is part of a good teachers’ job. I am so glad I was able to participate in an experience with children like this. I feel it is important to have experience with children prior to entering the classroom as the teacher. With experiences like these, it helps you get a better understanding of how the classroom should be with children this age. Being a teacher of children in the early childhood stages entitles more than just teaching them a lesson then testing them on it. But a teacher in the early childhood stages must also remember that these are the ages where children learn the most important things in life and need the most assistance. I was lucky enough to have teachers throughout my early childhood stages that taught me little things I need to know in life that I still use and remember to this day. It wasn’t because they forced me to learn these things that I remembered them, but because they taught me in ways that I understood and enjoyed. Going and visiting elementary schools and interacting with the children before beginning a teaching career is one of the most important things any future teacher could do.

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