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Author: Sam

Sam Barker / Author

Hey I'm Sam. I'm going to Antioch College for philosophy and sustainability or environmental science. My goal is eventually open my own summer camp. My vision is to change the world for the better through the only way I see possible, through the children. I want to teach the importance of environmental consciousness and the importance of volunteering to help the community.

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Skills: CPR, AED, and Basic First Aide STNA certification STOP the bleed Interests: Sustainability Environmental justice Herbology Farming Philosophy

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“Here I Go Again”: Barker ’25 at the Yellow Springs Community Children’s Center

Feb 22, 2023

The Yellow Springs Children’s Center is a five stared childcare facility, taking care of children from infancy to fifth grade since 1926.  My favorite thing about the center is that we strive on taking care of and incorporating every child’s needs and interests instead of doing general activities that we’re told to do with them. For example, at most public schools the teachers are generally told by the state what they need to teach throughout the year. But at the Children’s Center, we can ask our students what they’re interested in or learning that week at school and create activities based on their input. Some of our previous activities were counting and sorting money, making slime, baking, and learning how to properly use scissors.

While working here I have only been with the kindergarten through fifth-grade students so my days haven’t been very long since my kids are at Mills Lawn Elementary School most of the day. If I’m not coming in early to work on classroom training; such as effective lesson planning, trauma-informed care, and first aid, or setting things up for the day, I arrive at the center at about 2 pm. Once the other school-age teachers and I are ready, we all walk to Mills Lawn to pick up our kids. Once we arrive back at the center, we have our kids wash their hands, hang their belongings up in the classroom, and head outside to play on our playground until about 3:45 pm. Once back inside we have them wash their hands again, sit down together to eat a snack, and then start our daily activity. Our activities always change throughout the week and we love to have the kids make something that they can take home to show off to their loved ones or to make a yummy snack to share. So far, my favorite activities have been making homemade Oreos, making our own paper, gardening, making slime, and most of our art activities. After our group activities, the kids are free to play by themselves with any of the toys in our classroom until their guardian comes to pick them up. Luckily for me, the center closes around 6 pm which gives me just enough time to walk back to Birch Hall to pick up my dinner for the night.

Once the normal school year is over in late May, the school-age classrooms will transition into summer camp programs. During summer camp, our kids attend the center all day instead of just a few hours in the afternoon. We have breakfast, lunch, and snack with them and we make sure to go on at least one field trip a week. Last year, some of these trips included the Columbus Zoo, laser tag, bowling, and a nearby water park. During the rest of the week when we aren’t traveling, we do more in-depth activities with the kids involving different clubs. Some of our clubs include baking club, craft club, and anime club. For this year’s summer camp, I’m in charge of the craft club. I plan on  letting the kids choose a final project for the end of camp like making a stuffed animal, baking something on their own, building a robot, or making an art piece, and then work on smaller projects that lead up to their final design throughout the summer.

While there are challenges, just like at any place of business, at the end of the day, I love to see every one of my students grow and experience new things in this world and I can’t think of anything that I’d trade that for.



Life as an Assistant Teacher: Barker ‘25 at the Yellow Springs Community Children’s Center

Jun 28, 2022
Growing up with my mom as a teacher has taught me so much in life. For a very long time I was dead set on never working with kids. Hearing my mom’s complaints growing over the years has put multiple red flags up in my line of vision. However, when thinking of all of the possibilities for a co-op, anything that enables working with kids seemed to be my top priority. The Yellow Springs Community Children’s Center was the perfect choice. This Center is a privately owned 5-star facility that strives to focus on the individual child instead of the general population. Originally opening in 1926 as a nursery school, it now operates as a daycare for infants through 5th-graders. Located near campus, it was a perfect distance to skateboard to almost every morning. After accepting a job at this private facility, I arrived with the naïve thought that I would be exempt from the normal public school struggles and stresses. I quickly found out that that wasn’t the case. Like most schools nowadays, we’ve been struggling with low staff numbers as well as stresses caused by the challenges confronting students and staff alike. We also have not been able to hire a cook since I started working in November, which has created a big dent in the center’s ability to function smoothly. Despite all of these stresses, I’ve come to realize that I absolutely love kids and I want to continue working with them throughout my life. Since starting in November, I’ve been able to experience and learn so many fun and exciting things about children and about myself. Together we planted and maintained a flower garden, learned how to skateboard, conquered fears of heights and closed spaces; made tons of art, and shared many stories. Before summer started days here felt a lot shorter. I would come in around 9 in the morning to pass out and make breakfast and lunch, then me and the other school age teachers would walk up to Mills Lawn and meet the kids to walk them all back to the center. Once back around 2:30 we would go outside for recess for about an hour, then come back in for snack time. After everyone is done eating we would clean up and start an activity to do until tech time started at around five o’clock. At that point it’s just a waiting game to see who leaves last by six. Now that summer started and we no longer go to school to pick them up, our schedule is about the same except for our kids coming in a lot sooner and the field trips in the morning. Just like everyone else I’ve talked to about co-op’s, this one definitely had it’s moments where I just wanted to quit and give up. But whenever I thought about not seeing the people here again, I couldn’t help but to feel sad. Being a teacher has majorly shortened my attention span for interaction with my friends and other people after work,. Because of this I am now able to completely understand why my mom has always just come home from work and sat and watched TV; why she doesn’t do many extra activities, and why she hasn’t quit after years of complaining. Being a teacher, especially nowadays, drains teachers. They’re forced to deal with things like unruly kids, limited support for discipline, and even down-low fighting between coworkers. Teachers are often told exactly what to teach without being able to do add some of their more creative ideas. Despite all this, there’s nothing else I would rather be doing right now.