CSU Teacher Candidates Teach Children Lessons About River

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Scaled down and life-size models depicting symbols of Chattahoochee River history and its role as a life-sustaining resource soon will appear soon in River Road Elementary School classrooms.

Kids, ages 4-11, will create this makeshift exhibition as part of “Summer Spectacular,” a new summer enrichment program directed by CSU early childhood education students and professors.

This four-week series at River Road, themed “River Works: Exploring Columbus and the Chattahoochee,” begins June 25. Activities will focus on the river, its history and its benefits to Columbus. Subtopics will include the Chattahoochee as a transportation way, the plants and animals it supports, related environmental issues, and the benefits ranging from recreation to the generation of electricity.

Parents can sign up their children for $20 per child/per week for any or all sessions, which run 9 a.m.-noon Monday through Thursday.

The program is designed by CSU Associate Professor Jan Burcham, the Moselle Worsley Fletcher Faculty Chair in Teacher Education. She said participants will research and write about theme subtopics and bring them to life by creating displays — such as a scaled down riverboat or an 8-foot-long alligator. “They’ll be converting the classrooms into a museum that depicts what they’re learning,” she said.

Moreover, the children will help guide the program, said CSU Assistant Professor Joseph Mills. “They will be able to determine where to take each project creatively,” he said. “It will be a high-quality educational experience, but fun and exciting at the same time.”

Mills will be joined onsite by CSU faculty colleagues Betsy Glisson and Susan Barlow, River Road Elementary Principal Molly Hart and 25 CSU teacher candidates from a pair of concurrent early childhood education classes.

When not serving as facilitators, the CSU students will observe activities, thus satisfying the courses’ required field training that’s otherwise accessible only in the fall or spring when area schools are in regular session.

“Being able to offer these classes in the summer gives our early childhood education program more continuity,” Mills said.

The Summer Spectacular program, added Burcham,“provides a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

For more information or to register for the program, call 706-565-7810.