For over ten years the School of Education at SPU has partnered with local elementary schools for campus visits that show their students what college is like and help them imagine themselves as college-bound.
Campus visits are scheduled for fall, winter, and spring quarters. Between 200 and 300 students (along with many parent chaperones) visit each year.
Students are grouped with SPU undergraduates who volunteer to be host “buddies.” Some volunteers plan to become teachers and want to gain face-to-face experience with young learners, while others may be curious about what it’s like to work with children, or simply want to participate in a fun and rewarding campus activity.
Volunteers also gain experience interacting with students from a variety of backgrounds. Past elementary school partners include Tukwila Elementary School, Honey Dew Elementary School, and Dearborn Park Elementary School, which all serve culturally diverse and highly-impacted communities.
While on campus, kindergarteners receive a welcome and introduction to college life from SPU staff, are presented with a short lesson led by education students, tour a college classroom, learn what happens in the buildings around Tiffany Loop, and – for many the highlight of the day – get a chance to meet Talon the Falcon.
Student volunteers area asked to commit roughly three hours, from 9-11:45 a.m., to be at the event. Afterwards they reflect on the day’s activities and how the experience may have affected their sense of vocation.
Past student volunteers have said:
“Hearing kinders chant ‘I CAN GO TO COLLEGE!’ was so emotional — it was so great to see them being empowered.”
“I hadn’t considered being a kinder teacher, but after this experience I think it is a grade I would want to teach. I enjoyed interacting with these students and loved their excitement about learning.”
“As a student on the premed track, I hope to go on to become a healthcare professional and impact patients and their families in a positive way. This experience has made me wonder if my future will take me into pediatrics.”
“I had never really been interested in teaching at any level, certainly not kindergarteners, but something about this event made the experience so gratifying and enjoyable. It was so neat to see how excited the kids were, and it made the experiences all the more enjoyable. I really cannot remember any instance where I was not smiling.”
Elementary school visits to SPU are funded annually by a SERVE grant provided by the Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development. For more information about these visits – or to learn how you can participate in an upcoming event — contact Dyana Herron at email@example.com.