By Audrey Clayton
The Students with Disabilities class at Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) sponsored a Fall Festival on Nov. 11. This festival was mainly for the children of the Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD), the Educational Day Care Center, and the children and younger siblings of the LLCC students themselves. Believe it or not, this fun-filled festival was actually a class project.
Students Heather Clevenger, Deanna Edwards, Amy Huston, Samantha Lounsberry, Briana Turner, Jenny Lowery, Shikana Mangham, Haley Meredith, Jacklynn Murphy, Katie Waggener, Bre Woods, Elisa Woods and Kory Wright took the time to plan the activities for the kids. Many saw it as a chance for these future teachers to get experience with the age group they are aspiring to teach.
The activities included games such as fishing, balloon catch, bowling, bean bag toss and hat making. At first, students were worried about how many would attend (besides their own kids of course) but that quickly changed when a group of children from ISD arrived. It took the children a little bit to warm up from being outside and to the LLCC students, but when they did they had all kinds of fun with the activities.
“It’s great to have events like this for the kids where they can just have fun and enjoy themselves,” said Robynne Heinemann, a staff member at ISD. She said that change is good for the children, as they are usually confined to the ISD campus, and between school, homework and bedtime, it was a great break in their routine. Several of the LLCC students knew ASL (American Sign Language) in varying degrees, whether they had learned from experiences or though family.
Many of the students said that the best thing about the project was seeing the children react to the games and interact with each other. Kory Wright’s favorite part was the pure excitement on the faces of the children when they collected all the fish in the swimming pool in the fishing game.
Bre Woods explained, “Having the chance to plan activities for them was the best part. It was just like it would be if it was our own classroom.” Most of the class was in agreement about the experience.
When it was time to leave, the children had burned off some energy and had a blast. The students were thrilled that the attendance was higher than expected and with their grades for the project. Everyone was happy for a change of pace and the hands-on experience. Like with most things, teaching is best taught through first-hand experience. Being at LLCC, students can get both and still have fun, like they did at the Fall Festival.