Amanda de Boer, Annette Mok & Tanin Shafaati

Amanda Annette Tanin

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, 4th Year

Bachelor of Arts, Criminology Program, 4th Year

Bachelor of Science, Biological Sciences Major, Psychology Minor, 4th Year

Course: PSYCO 325 (Winter 2022) with Instructor Dr. Wendy Hoglund

Who was your community partner and can you describe the project objectives? 

Our partner was Start2Finish and our role was to lead weekly sessions engaging children in reading and exercise. Our CSL project objective was to create a newsletter to provide educators with information and ways on how to develop elementary-age children’s social awareness skills. The goal of Start2Finish is to provide children with continuous educational support to end the cycle of child poverty. Through nurturing mind, body, and social health, Start2Finish encourages and empowers children to become successful community members and role models for change. Their Running & Reading Clubs which we volunteered with combine fitness, literacy, and social-emotional learning to help bridge educational gaps.

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

Amanda: My biggest takeaway was how important it is to connect course material to real-life experiences. It is one thing to read an article about child development and literacy compared to having direct experience. Both the classroom material and CSL components work together to form a deeper understanding of the material.

Annette: The biggest takeaway from my CSL placement is learning how my course knowledge applies in a real-life situation. Additionally, it has improved my skills and knowledge to help foster children’s positive development.

Tanin: Throughout my sessions with my partners and our children at Start2Finish, I learned about the importance of social awareness, teamwork, social interactions, and empathy in kids. It was fascinating to see how enthusiastic children can become to make friendships and share their knowledge and feelings with one another when given the opportunity to do so. It was also an opportunity for me to see, acknowledge, and celebrate differences between children and how, regardless of these differences, they can create meaningful relationships with one another. 

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)? 

Amanda: I learned more about classroom management and how to lead large groups. For me, this is an important skill because it teaches me how to practice assertiveness and leadership, both important skills to have going into the workforce.

Annette: With a better understanding of how I can foster children’s positive development, I can apply it to my future endeavours to work on better understanding children’s needs. After this, I can then provide them with the appropriate support to ensure that they can maximize their potential to achieve their goals. 

Tanin: Working in a group, especially one that involves children, requires patience. But during my time with Start2Finish I learned to use this patience to encourage the children to empathize with one another and respect each other. If you are able to teach younger kids teamwork and communication, you can for sure integrate it with adults in future team opportunities!

What are some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected your community partner or your placement? 

Amanda: Due to COVID we had to hold our sessions online which led to the inevitable tech issues but we really tried to persevere through those challenges and create an engaging environment for the children. 

Annette: COVID-19 has affected my placement because we worked with the organization online only. So, I did not get the in-person experience working with Start2Finish and with the children. 

Tanin: Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our sessions had to be held online which sometimes made it challenging to create interactions between the children. Kids are very different, and sometimes there were ones who were more hesitant to participate in our discussion. I felt that if these sessions were held in-person, it might have been easier to create bonds and trust with these kids who needed more attention and confidence to be able to get involved in the sessions.