Sydney Dickner, Ella Hirsekorn & Sharen Anna Manuel

Sydney Ella Sharen

Bachelor of Arts, Psychology, 4th Year

Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, 4th Year

Bachelor of Science,Psychology, 3rd Year

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

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

Sydney: My community partner was Garneau University Early Learning Centre (GUELC). The CSL project objective was to create a newsletter and set of activities that targeted an aspect of child development. This newsletter and set of activities was created with our community partner in mind.

Ella: My community partner was Africa Centre. My official role was technically "lesson planning support" but I more so just helped out around the daycare and played with the kids. The final project for this course was a research-informed newsletter and set of activities related to children's development. Two of my classmates and I did our project on the importance of parental involvement in early childhood education. 

Sharen Anna: GUELC, Our main goal was to provide support to the staff and parent community as well as to learn, understand and appreciate the process of early childhood development through the Reggio Emilia Framework. 

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement?  

Sydney: My biggest takeaway was getting to connect with the children and teachers at Garneau. 

Ella: My main takeaways from my placement were a rich understanding of the FLIGHT framework and child-centred curriculum adopted by Africa Centre, learning about the importance of play for children’s learning, and getting the opportunity to see children’s development first hand and apply learned concepts to my experience. 

Sharen Anna: The importance of child centred curriculums in an early learning environment!

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

Sydney: I got to learn first hand about how child-centred learning is incorporated and applied to Garneau's early learning programs. In my future volunteer work, I will keep this framework in mind while interacting with children of different ages. 

Ella: I plan to keep volunteering with Africa Centre in the future. This placement gave me the opportunity to learn more about working with young children which I am now a lot more comfortable with! I gained the skills needed to adapt to working with new populations I may not be familiar with which I think will be largely beneficial in my future endeavours. 

Sharen Anna: With what I have learnt and experienced, I hope to use my knowledge to approach children in a much more effective manner in terms of clinical and counselling psychology. My previous understanding of a child’s early education was very narrow-minded, and this new perspective I have gained has really opened my eyes on a child’s behaviour and how they learn and interact with their environment! 

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

Sydney: We were not able to go into the classroom to interact with the children due to COVID-19. We met with the children and the teachers via Zoom or outdoors during the placement.

Ella: Fortunately for me, COVID-19 did not really have an effect on my placement. I was still able to go in-person; the only requirement was that I wore a mask. However, because of COVID, the daycare was unable to invite parents into the daycare – parents had to drop off their kids at the door and weren't able to come in. This created a bit of a disconnect between parents and their children's daycare. My final project topic in this class (parental involvement in early childhood education) stemmed from this disconnect. 

Sharen Anna: I was not able to be completely immersed in the placement due to COVID-19 restrictions and many of my hours came from zoom call observations. I was still able to learn much from my observations but the most enjoyable sessions I had were the in person outdoor walks with the children!