Early Childhood Education Program Students Prepare for Week of the Young Child Fair

Posted: April 24, 2007 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Probst

Mason students in the Early Childhood Education Program and taking the class Policy Perspectives Affecting Diverse Young Learners and their Families are using their knowledge from course work throughout the semester to promote the Week of the Young Child Fair, a final class project to be held on the Fairfax Campus today from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on the Johnson Center North Plaza (rain site: Student Union Building I, Rooms A and B).

“The policy class is composed of three threads that students applied to the planning and organizing of the Week of the Young Child Fair,” says Susan Burns, associate professor in the College of Education and Human Development.

“These threads — examining issues of policy, leadership in the field and advocacy for children and their families — will help students understand what policies affect children and how they can become advocates for these issues.”

Throughout the course, students have been involved in group projects that require them to examine a certain policy, either on a local, state or federal level, that affects children from birth to third grade and take some kind of action in support of the issue.

Susan Riedinger, a student in the policy perspectives class, has been working with her group to help institute English as a second language (ESL) services in kindergarten classes. At the end of the semester, her group will send a letter and signed petition to members of the Fairfax County School Board encouraging them to establish these services in local schools.

As part of a larger project, students are marking Week of the Young Child with the Week of the Young Child Fair. Through interactive games and activities incorporating the theme of Dr. Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” the fair will highlight policies affecting young children.

“We consider the Week of the Young Child Fair an awareness project. We hope to attract local organizations and give them the opportunity to learn about current policies that are affecting all young children and show them how they can help,” says Riedinger.

Students in the policy class will be on hand to discuss the Week of the Young Child and the local impact of important early childhood education issues, including the testing of second language learners, universal preschool and inclusion of children with disabilities and early intervention for infants and toddlers and their families. Students will also hand out one-page descriptions of the different policy issues studied by each group.

For more information about Week of the Young Child Fair, contact Riedinger at srieding@gmu.edu or Kathleen Nealon at knealon3@gmu.edu.

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