By Bethany Stewart
For the past year, I have volunteered with the Pre-K students at Bushy Park Elementary School. I was able to have such an inspiring and fun opportunity because of Glenelg’s National Honor Society.
On Mondays, I help to teach the Pre-K students their letters, numbers, and other important knowledge that will help to prepare them for kindergarten. When I was given this opportunity I was ecstatic. I have always loved working with children and this was a great way to help out the community and put my passion to good use.
One the first day I arrived, the kids were excited but also shy. We read books and ran around outside. After about three weeks, the kids were warmed up to me. They hug me when I come and leave, fight over who I am going to read to, and tell me all kinds of stories.'
There are a few other Glenelg students that also help out with the Pre-K students. Victoria Winter is one of these volunteers, and she commented, “This was such a fun way to get my tutoring hours. I loved going in every week to see all these adorable kids and help them learn.” Seeing how a young child works to figure out a problem is inspiring. When they finally figure it out, they are excited to share their accomplishments.
On some days, I pull children aside to help them focus on a topic they are struggling with, whether it is knowing their letters, numbers, or shapes. This one on one time helps the students to focus in on what they are doing. Other times we all run around outside, playing games that they make up. I get to help them explore new ideas and concept through their centers. They get into small groups and play with toys or build different things centered around the topic they are working on. In the past they have done units on dinosaurs, castles, and birds.
Another student that volunteers at the elementary school is Morgan Kemp. She volunteers on Mondays as well, and was so surprised how great this program is. “This experience has gone above and beyond my expectations. I really enjoy helping out the children.” This is an opportunity that only a few students get to take part in, so if it is an option to participate in this volunteer activity, I would definitely take it Kemp adds on.
I am glad that I decided to take this volunteering opportunity on. Being a senior, in the last year of my general education, and seeing children just beginning their learning journey is exciting. Knowing that there are kids with bright minds who are excited to learn brings about hope. Interacting with children who have not yet witnessed the worst in people and the world, uplifts me to try to always see the good in people, which is all that they know.