Organization aids student teachers, educates children

Aimee Hancock and Aimee Hancock

Students pursuing a career in early childhood education have a way to get connected to others in the same pursuit while also gaining first-hand experience.

The Early Childhood Organization is a group on campus comprised of students within the field who work together and with the surrounding community to initiate growth and learning.

ECO has planned and carried out a number of social, volunteer and professionally developmental events.

“All of the activities relate directly or indirectly with children or education,” junior Stephanie Echler, a member of the group, said.

Past events have included volunteer work for the Wood County Park District as well as Sibs N Kids weekend at the University.

Junior Heather Sements, secretary of ECO, said Sibs N Kids weekend is one of the organization’s “most prideful events.” Sements said ECO takes the time to thoughtfully plan “fun, educational and creative activities,” and “games and crafts geared toward children.”

Sements also said the organization “enlightens [members] with speakers and up-to-date teaching methods” and allows them to network with one another.

One of the speaking events involved teachers from Perrysburg schools who talked to the organization about “Singapore math,” a three-step learning process that is taught around the world.

Many of these speakers give students tips and advice on how they may successfully navigate a classroom while efficiently educating children. The Early Childhood Organization can be seen as a type of mediator between current and future teachers and gives students a unique learning experience that they may not have received otherwise.

Among the events organized by the group are tutoring sessions for children. This April, the group will participate in “Literacy in the Park,” an event consisting of reading-based presentations and activities for children and their parents.

Mary Ann Culver, advisor of ECO, said that the group is a fun way for students to “develop friendships” and is a place for them to feel “wanted and accepted” during their time at the University.

Culver said that in addition to learning-based events, the organization also participates in fundraising. These collected funds are “put toward community outreach for kids in the Wood County area,” said Culver.

Amanda Frick, treasurer of ECO, said if members devote the time and effort, the organization will give them “a leg up as a future educator.”