(THE PICKET)- Tuesday afternoon, a normally casual and quiet time at the Game Zone quickly became a buzz of activity and excitement as a much younger than normal audience took over. The preschool age children of Shepherd University’s Early Learning Center came to bowl, many for the very first time in their lives.
Initially it looks like a mass of chaos to me, I wonder how the staff and Shepherd students can keep these kids in order let along get them to put on a pair of bowling shoes, but order is established quickly, a true testament to the professionals and aspiring professionals present. I am amazed at how they interact and direct the children to help them understand the concepts of the bowling alley and rules.
The kids begin at first appearing timid as this is a new thing, but grow more excited as they continue to bowl. The Game Zone has a red plastic dragon to assist with rolling the heavy bowling balls for the kids, it gets passed back and forth to give everyone a turn with it. The children are encouraged by staff to cheer for one another, no score is kept, it isn’t needed today. This is about having fun, encouraging physical activity, and giving a field trip experience.
“It’s not about how many pins you knock down but if you are smiling,” said learning center staffer Paulette Lashley.
As they continue to bowl I can see the kids confidence build. They smile and cheer more. It is clear they are having a wonderful time.
The Early Learning Center and its activities are a wonderful opportunity for students in the fields of childhood education and psychology to get practical experience in a child care center. The kids in the center are children of faculty, students, and Shepherdstown. Trips like the bowling trip give the children an opportunity to get a look at the community, work on social skills, and other important developmental skills.
Jessica Sharpless can be contacted at email@example.com