Students from the University of Central Oklahoma Early Childhood Association and Family Life Education program recently revived the playroom at the Department of Human Services Adult and Family Services Center in Midwest City. The project offered students an opportunity to brighten the day for children who use the facility and put action behind what they learned in the classroom.
A Family Life Education student who recently adopted a child from the Midwest City Department of Human Services noticed the playroom could use a much brighter, more welcoming play space for the children who use it every day.
After the student shared her observation with Professor LaDonna Atkins and classmates, the group contacted the office and made plans for a redesign in hopes that it would bring its young users a greater sense of belonging.
The redesign turned into a service learning project for the students as a part of Atkins’ Play, Curriculum and Program Development course. Students learn how children’s play environments affect and shape the child’s development and learning.
“Playrooms should be inviting and a place for children to be happy and free of stress,” Atkins said. “I wanted my college students to have an opportunity to apply what they are learning in a real-world setting, but also wanted to provide the children who are visiting their family or waiting for services at the child welfare office to have a positive, child-friendly environment.”
Atkins’ students, along with members of the university’s Early Childhood Association donated books, paint, toys, baskets, a bookshelf, pillows, a play mat and a non-breakable mirror as part of the redesign plan, which includes repainting the playroom, creating a more comfortable reading area, a construction area and a space for doing homework for older children. A local artist also painted a mural on a playroom wall.
TO LEARN more about UCO’s Family Life Education program, visit www.uco.edu/ceps.