Finding joy through children’s eyes

Samanatha Oudkirk with CLC Chilrdren

 Senior Samantha Oudkerk, an early childhood studies major, was one of six Mitchell College students who did their teaching practicum at the Children’s Learning Center (CLC) at Mitchell College during the fall 2021 semester.

Samantha planned and presented several lessons to the students in her class – all three- and four-year-olds – and her favorite lesson introduced the children to paleontology.

“During the paleontologist lesson, I read to the children about dinosaur bones. Then, during ‘choice time,’ the children got to act as paleontologists looking for replicas of dinosaurs, bones and fossils in a sensory bin filled with sand. They used their hands and brushes to find the objects and then used magnifying glasses to observe them close up, especially the ‘fossils’.”

Samantha also found joy in outdoor adventure time with the children, which took advantage of the natural landscape surrounding the historic Chappell Cottage at Mitchell Woods, where the CLC is housed, as well as other areas on campus, like Mitchell Beach. At the CLC, the outdoors is an extension of the indoor classroom space.

“Seeing the children explore nature and find new discoveries makes me happy.”

Samantha will complete her final practicum at The Friendship School in Waterford this semester. Looking forward to fulfilling her goal of being a preschool teacher or teacher assistant after she graduates, Samantha is happy thinking about her time at Mitchell.

“Mitchell is special to me because this is where I met my best friend. It’s also where I realized that I wanted to be a teacher.”