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Child Labs teach through play

The Child Labs in the John L. Clarke Building is more than just a daycare — they helped one 2-year-old girl learn to walk after the parents tried various methods with no avail.

The Child Labs help children ranging from toddlers to 4th grade. Students studying child education come to the labs to work one on one with the children and learn together.

They learn a great deal of how a child thinks and interacts with everyday life by creating activities where the child can play and learn at the same time. Kriss Pond, the Child Labs coordinator, has worked on the staff for two years. Her job is to help out with the enrollment of students and families and make sure the right supplies are there for the workers and children. Pond’s children are also among those who are involved in the labs.

“My children love the labs!” Pond said. “They were involved in the labs before I started working here. My son attended toddler lab. I observed him in the lab and thought this is really awesome. So my children have been enrolled continuously since I began working here two years ago.”

The Child Labs approach learning for children differently. According to Pond, the work is designed at a more play-based level so that learning comes naturally through their playing. The children don’t just play; the things they do are actually graded. There are different departments where children learn through different sensory activities. There are science activities, language activities, activities that help with balance, and many others to help them with their academic learning.

Something amazing about the Child Labs is how it is unique compared to other sources out there to help children with their growth and learning.

“A little 2-year-old girl had struggled with learning to walk,” Pond said. “When she came here to the Child Labs, the faculty was determined to create things she is interested in and place them across the room so she has to get to them. She started crawling, then they had a little mini-walker for her to use and help her maneuver across the room.” The child eventually learned how to walk.

The students on campus who work and interact with the children love being a part of the labs. They learn about guidance, goal setting and building skill sets in each child. Each child has a developmental plan. The student teachers will build activities for the children who are in their classes.

Kelana Colwell, a junior studying child development, is among those who work alongside the children.

“I love just being able to interact with the children and learning with them as they grow throughout the semester,” Colwell said. “I feel like they are different children when they start out in the beginning of the semester and where they end up at the end of the semester. You can totally see the growth and the small change that you have in your life for this little bit of time.”

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