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Jan. 13, 2017
A group of Northwest Missouri State University education students helped make the holiday tables for some local families a little fuller this year through their partnership with a Maryville church program.
The students in Northwest’s School of Education recently worked with children at the Maryville First United Methodist Church’s C.O.O.L. Kids program to create and plan a project that resulted in purchasing turkeys to help local families with their holiday meals. One turkey could be purchased for every $7 collected and the project collected nearly $700 while providing more than 90 families with a turkey for their holiday meals.
“The final outcome far exceeded anything we, myself and the students could have imagined,” Dr. Merlene Gilb, assistant professor of professional education at Northwest, said. “By staying responsive to the children’s interests and allowing for the project to be open-ended and self-directed, the students brought forward both initiative and intrinsic motivation that helped propel this project forward.”
As part of the C.O.O.L. Kids program, the children worked with Northwest students in the School of Education’s program management course to choose and plan a project to help their community. The children devised the project to purchase turkeys after touring the Maryville Ministry Center.
“Every week was different and exciting, and letting the children lead really helped with their involvement, which made our project so successful in the Maryville community,” Alyson Stanczyk, a senior elementary education major from Omaha, Nebraska, said.
The course project helped Northwest students gain experience in guiding and cultivating learning opportunities that were based on the children’s interests and passions.
Pairs of Northwest students oversee the planning, management and leadership of the C.O.O.L. Kids program on Wednesday evenings. Each Monday, the students spent class time processing the previous week’s experience and planned for the upcoming week.
“The children construct genuine knowledge for themselves and practiced empathy and respect for their fellow learners, extending that empathy in a tangible way to their community,” Gilb said. “In the end, the Northwest students and the children experienced how – in this diverse world – we can share and show compassion. Together we can make a difference.”
Northwest students in the School of Education’s program management course began partnering with the church in 2014 to facilitate the C.O.O.L Kids program, which serves children in grades one through six and meets for an hour on Wednesday evenings.The Northwest students manage the program while learning about marketing, registration, family communication and designing program content. As facilitators, the students use educational theory to enhance the cognitive and moral development of children in understanding themselves and their relationships with others.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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