Early childhood education students start the holidays off strong


  December is finally here and along with it comes the Sights and Sounds Downtown Sterling Christmas Walk. On Friday, December 2, many organizations and programs had booths that  included activities for children. These activities started after the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. and lasted until 7:30 p.m.

  Prior to this, Kris Noble, a member of the Sauk Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, reached out to Early Childhood Education teacher Heather Johnson about her class volunteering for the event. ECE Students were eager to help and be able to apply the knowledge they have learned about the development of children.

  Up to now, ECE had not done Santa’s Workshop. Despite this only being their first year, they still put in a lot of effort. The class got Christmas decorations, Christmas apparel, and prizes. 

  During the event ECE had their own booth with two activities, antler ring toss and a downtown scavenger hunt bingo. 

  In the antler ring toss, children had to throw rings of glow sticks onto inflatable antlers. In the scavenger hunt, ECE students had children and their parents walk around the event to get their bingo card filled out. Whoever got a bingo came back and was given a prize. Children were given prizes such as candy canes, cookies, and stuffed animals

  While the class was brainstorming activity ideas they had thought the scavenger hunt would be a hit for the older kids. However, the night of the event more teens were interested in the ring toss game. 

  ECE student Maliya Reyes said, “I loved working with the group I was with, and we were all super excited and patient with the kids. I wish I was able to do this again with the same class because it was very fun for all of us and the community.”

  The crowd fluctuated throughout the evening, but kids of all ages loved it and so did the ECE students. 

  ECE teacher Heather Johnson shared, “I would love to do this activity again next year. It was so much fun to see my students applying their learning and interacting with children, something I typically only get to observe minimally in the second semester.” 

  The experience at Santa’s workshop gave these students the opportunity to connect with each other but also they got real experience with children, which will better prepare them for next semester.