Presentation on theme: "Service Learning: The Children’s Center By Dani Breiter."— Presentation transcript:
Service Learning: The Children’s Center By Dani Breiter
About The Children’s Center The Children’s Center is a therapeutic preschool for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who, for one reason or another, require up to 15 hours of therapeutic care a week. The children are educated and simultaneously treated for problems such as hyperactivity, aggression, and anxiety. Care is also provided to their families through therapy and counseling. The Children’s Center is the only facility of its kind in Utah, and has two branches in Salt Lake City and Kearns.
Specific Programs Offered The two main services offered to clients of The Children’s Center are the therapeutic preschool program and a wide variety of clinical services, such as family therapy, individual therapy, parenting classes, and language therapy. They also have connections to many similar organizations, such as the Division of Child and Family Services, the National Child Trauma Stress Network, and the YWCA.
Therapeutic Preschool The therapeutic preschool offered by the Children’s Center effectively combines education of both social skills and a preschool curriculum. The classes are all taught by two highly trained specialists who are prepared to deal with the psychological struggles of the children as well as educational. They have classes for children as young as two up to preschoolers. My specific responsibility as a volunteer in this classroom is to help guide the children from one activity to the next, play with them, and generally be a good role model. I am specifically told not to intervene in any fights or breakdowns that might occur, seeing as I don’t have the training needed. I instead inform one of the teachers and let them address it.
About the Issue The issue I was learning about through my volunteer work at the Children’s Center was the education and rehabilitation of children who have mental disorders or issues from factors ranging from abuse to simpler problems like natural chemical imbalance. This is an issue I have always been concerned about and can never have too much attention, for it affects not only the children of this generation, but also the children of further generations as the cycles of abuse, neglect, and mental disorder continue. I applaud the Children’s Center for its sensitive and compassionate attention to this issue, as well as the creative way that they tackle it.
Influence on My Goals My experience as a volunteer at the Children’s Center has cemented my resolve to become a psychologist and has also made me certain of the field of psychology I wish to study. My initial feelings were that I would specify in child and teen psychology, and while that is still not out of the question, there is a high chance that I now will focus specifically on child psychology. Being a volunteer at the Children’s Center has proven to me just how important study in this field is and how rewarding the results can be.
Reflection and Analysis From my observation, I have succeeded in my efforts as a volunteer at the Children’s Center. I have learned many things about conveying concepts to children of varying mental capacity, and how such a simple change as removing the word ‘don’t’ from your vocabulary can make. The children have come to enjoy my coming there every Thursday, and it is also something I look forward to. In retrospect, I did not have a specific question I was trying to answer when I began volunteering there, and so if I were to do this project again, I would start with a defined goal in mind. I would also keep a better track of my progress in my journal, for both my benefit and the benefit of my educators.
Ideas for Further Service Overall, I am immensely impressed with the different and very effective methods used in the Children’s Center for the benefit of the children there. It seems to be a system that produces good results and provides much-needed individual attention to the children they are providing care for. If anything, I would like to recommend that other organizations like the Children’s Center be set up across the state, and perhaps around the nation. The effective combination of education and rehabilitation is a logical and productive one, and it should be expanded. The only thing lacking in the system of the Children’s Center is the lack of volunteers that sometimes makes the jobs of the instructors more stressful. That is, of course, an easy fix: volunteering is easy and always appreciated.
Addendum As I continue volunteering there, I will continue to observe and learn all I can about teaching children proper social skills and expression through example and care. Hopefully what I learn will continue to inspire and propel me towards the career I hope to take on in my adult life, and I can affect the lives of children in need as much as the Children’s Center does.