SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Eighteen members of Evangel University’s Education Department have partnered with Willard South Elementary to implement the Kinder Kubs after-school program.
“The program is aimed at serving kindergarteners who need extra support with oral language and literacy skills,” said Shonna Crawford, assistant professor of education at Evangel.
Kinder Kubs is conducted by members of Crawford’s Language Development class and is currently serving approximately 20 kindergarteners. This is Evangel’s third year to partner with Willard South in this endeavor.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our kindergartners to build oral language skills while providing college students classroom experience. It is great to see the relationships that are created between these kindergartners and college students,” said Kara Crighton-Smith, principal at Willard South.
Kindergarten students meet with Kinder Kubs volunteers for six sessions, one every other week. During sessions, volunteers assist kindergarteners with improving oral language, reading, writing and reasoning skills. During weeks between sessions, Crawford’s students write out individual lesson plans for each kindergartener based on his or her needs as indicated by assessment results and student observation. WSE employees then incorporate these lesson plans into their personal instruction of Kinder Kubs students.
“When we go to Willard South every other week, the first thing that we do is sit down with a student and give him the opportunity to talk about his day, his likes and dislikes, or anything that he feels like sharing,” said Lauren Liberty, a senior early childhood education major at Evangel and Kinder Kubs volunteer. “This provides us with a great opportunity to invest in the students’ lives and to learn more about the best ways to serve and work with each child individually.”
This year’s program began on Sept. 20 and will conclude in early December. Since its inception in 2010, the program has been able to help more than 60 students improve their literacy and language skills.
The opportunity for college students to gain career experience is an important part of the program as well: “Getting to implement what I learn in my classes in real life situations has been very valuable to me,” Liberty explained. “I know that I am better prepared for my future as a teacher because of experiences like the Kinder Kubs program.”
For additional information, contact Shonna Crawford at (417) 865-2815, ext. 8554.
Evangel University is a private, Christian university of arts, sciences and professions. With an enrollment of more than 2,000 students from all 50 states and abroad, Evangel offers more than 100 undergraduate academic programs and nine master’s programs.