By Emily Bennett, Staff Writer
Early childhood students and professors met recently to initiate an Early Childhood Club during a constitution meeting at UMF that will be official in fall of 2015. According to the president, Taylor Marshall, about 40 students are already on the email list, and the club shows great interest to many education majors at UMF.
An executive board (e-board) for the club has been selected and they are already taking charge to get the club up and running. Recently, the interested members and e-board met to develop the club’s constitution, as well as brainstorm goals for the club.
According to the participants, the main goal of the club is aimed towards creating playgroups with families in town and to bring awareness about the early childhood programs.
In the constitution meeting held, the participants brainstormed ideas they would like to see the club fulfill. Some ideas discussed included fundraising for local families in various ways. The club also wants to take part in an Autism walk and attend the Eric Carle museum in Boston. “It is a resource for early childhood majors to make connections and meet people,” said Marshall.
The idea for the club was brought to light by an early childhood professor at UMF, Melissa Clawson. “In our department we have been talking about it for a couple of years and now it seemed like a really good time,” said Clawson. “We have several new faculty members with a lot of energy who could provide new leadership and perspectives.”
Clawson observed through her classes that the students “seem to be wanting more. And had a real desire for more knowledge and networking.”
Another professor who plays a huge role in organizing the club is Char Moffit, a new professor at UMF who is energetic about getting the club going. She also attended the constitution meeting to add insight.
The club is applying to become a student chapter in the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and hopes to become affiliated with them. Through this affiliation, the club can take part in conferences held by the NAEYC.
During the constitution meeting, Clawson also brought up ideas to affiliate the club with local schools such as Mallet Elementary School and the Franklin County Children’s Task Force.
The club is still working to develop a name and finalize logistics. “We started too late and need to be officially approved by the Senate. There is also a 12 week trial period before we get the funding,” said Marshall.
An existing club, Student Education Association of Maine (SEAM), is another education club on campus for education majors. Marshall said that it is very similar, but more focused on the education of young children.
The Early Childhood Club is not only open to early childhood majors, but also to elementary education majors and anyone interested in working with children. “I would love if students reached out,” said Marshall. “And if people tried to attend meetings to see what its all about”.