The School of Education welcomed more than 350 8- to 12-year-old students to campus in October for the fifth annual Texas Wesleyan "First Day of College: Science and Reading Days," and a sizable donation from Half Price Books helped the participants take a little something extra home with them.
The camp, which is spearheaded by R.J. Wilson, Ph.D., is a collaboration between the School of Education and the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD). Six of Texas Wesleyan's dedicated School of Education faculty led 65 undergraduate education majors to facilitate the event and guide the children in exciting learning activities.
From Oct. 30-31, the children toured the campus, conducted science experiments and performed reader's theater. All the children received a certificate of appreciation for attending the event.
Half Price Books donated more than 400 books to the camp, allowing each child to take a book home with them. FWISD teachers selected the books based on the students' interests and language proficiency level.
For many of the children who visited the campus, it was the first book they've owned.
The children who participated are currently enrolled in FWISD's Language Learning Center. Most of the children who take part in this camp are recent arrivals to the U.S., some of whom are refugees.
The primary goal of the "First Day of College" camp is to expose immigrant and refugee children to an academic environment. Many of these children have had little or no schooling, and it is an empowering experience for them to see a positive learning environment and get a glimpse of what the future may hold.
The program also seeks to enhance the educational experience for Texas Wesleyan's School of Education students. It provides the opportunity to observe and participate in field experiences with a variety of children.
Education majors complete academic coursework in ESL theories and strategies, but it is not the same as direct first-hand experience of working with multilingual students on an extended basis.
This partnership between the Department of Undergraduate Education and FWISD's Language Center is a true example of "Smaller. Smarter."