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A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

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

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.


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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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